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Full text of "Discovery of a lost art of the Egyptians, the robbins process for rendering wood imperishable ..."




Library of The 
Saturday 
Afternoon Club 



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DISCOVERY 




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OF A 



Art of the 




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WEB R@©BISfi PR@@E 





FOR 



Rendering Wood Imperishable 






AN INVALUABLE IMPROVEMENT, SUSCEPTIBLE 

OF UNIVERSAL APPLICATION. 



The Kan who adds a Sci«*n< e or an Art, 
Or new Inyi no practi< ally wise, 
Leads the great host 




NEW YORK: 

PUBLISHED B^T ORDER OF Til 

NATIONAL PATENT WOOD PRESERVING COMPANY, 

INTo. «**■* BROADWA 

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THE 



NATIONAL PATENT 



WOOD PRESERVING COMPANY. 



OBGA1HZED UNDER THE LAWS OF NEW YORK 



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$ © © 



$1 



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Divided into 10,000 Shares of $100 Each; 



1000 SHARES-$1 00,000 WORKING- CAPITAL. 



OFFICERS. 



J. RICHARD BARRET, 
HENRY STEERS, - 



L C. WOODS, 



President, 

Vice-President 

Secretary. 



EUGENE KELLY, (No. 24 Nassau Street, New York,) Treasurer. 



S. B. BRITTAN, General Agent 



NEW YORK: 

office-no. 68 broadway, 

rFLOOHN/IS 11, 12 cfc 13- 

1867. 



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4 



\ 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in th* year 1SCC, by the 

JJATIOXAL PATENT WOOD PRESERVING COMPANY, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United 
States for the Southern District of New York. 



i 



/ 



BOARD OF DIRECTORS 



SAMUEL TATE, 

President of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company 



FRANCIS MORRIS, 

Treasurer of the American Telegraph Company. 



GEN. A. S. DIVEN, 

Vice-President of the Erie Railroad Company, 



SILAS SEYMOUR, 

Consulting and Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad Ca 



HENRY STEERS, 

Shipbuilder, New York, 



j. w. FOSTER, 

Chicago — Geologist of the State of Illinois 



WILLIAM OGDEN GILES, 

Merchant, New York. 



CHARLES WATROUS, 

Lumber Merchant, (Firm Willson & Watrous,) New York, 



ti 




j 




°H 



J. RICHARD BARRET. 



St Louis, Missouri 






ANNOUNCEMENT. 



The National Patent W 



Wood 



Loins S. Eobbins, is now prepared to use, and to sell the right to 
use, said Invention in Towns, Cities, Counties and States, to 
individuals, to Railroad Companies and other Corporations. 
All applications to the Companv will receive immediate attention 



J. RICHARD BARRET, President, 
HENRY STEERS, Vice-President, 
I. C. WOODS, Secretary, 



Executive Committee. 



S. B. BRITTAN, General Agent. 



Office of Company, 

68 Broadway, New York. 

Sept. 1st, 1866. 



< 



I 



/ 



I 



GENERAL INDEX. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD, (GENERAL STATEMENT OF USES,) 
AMEUKAN FORESTS, (DESTRUCTION AND PRESERVATION,) 

CARBOLIC ACID AS A DISINFECTANT 

CHAMPOLLION ON EMBALMING, 

LETTER FROM A MEMBER OF THE N. Y. HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

WOODEN PAVEMENTS, 

THE SANITARY QUESTION, (ACTION OF THE BOARD OF HEAL! 

HEALTH IN THE PAVEMENTS, 

RELATIVE WEAR OF DIFFERENT PAVEMENTS, 

THE MOST USEFUL DISINFECTANT, .... 

PRESERVATION OF WOOD FROM DECAY, 

HOW TO REMEDY THE EVIL 

NEW AND IMPORTANT EXPERIMENTS, 

HOW TO PROCURE IMPERISHABLE COFFINS, . 

THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION AT PARIS, 

ROBBINS' LEVEE PATENT 

HOW TO OIL GUN-STOCKS, 

PORTABLE APPARATUS, 

THE ART OF PRESERVING WOOD, .... 

SPECIFICATIONS OF THE ROBBINS W. P. PATENT, 
THE SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION ON WOOD PRESERVING, 
A GREAT EVIL AND THE REMEDY, 

PRESERVATION OF RAILWAY TIMBER 

THE WOOD PRESERVING QUESTION 

LEGAL OPINION OF THE ROBBINS PATENT 



II 



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ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



S 



THE importance of preserving wood for mechanical pur- 
poses can no longer be questioned. Timber, conve- 
niently located — within a reasonable distance of the chief 
centers of the lumber trade — must soon be exhausted. We 
shall, ere long, be obliged to draw our supplies from situations 
remote from the main channels of water communication 
from the gradual slopes and steep acclivities of the great 
mountain ranges which traverse the continent. When the 
country along the chief lines of railway shall also have been 
stripped of such building materials, we shall be compelled 
to look to other, still more distant, and comparatively inac- 
cessible regions for what we require ; and from such sources 
it will onty be obtained by great labor and at a heavy ex- 
pense. A very large portion of the country embraced with- 
in the geographical limits of the new States and Territories, 
is, even now, very poorly supplied with wood. In Nevada 
a single railroad sleeper is worth double the average price 
in the Eastern and Middle States. A rough knotty stick, 
five feet long and one foot in diameter — only fit to prop 
up the roof of a mine — is worth one dollar in gold. The 
rapid settlement of that country, and of the whole Pacific 
side of the continent, will soon render wood, of all the ma- 
terials employed in the useful arts, the most difficult to bo 
obtained. 

But the world scarcely realizes the existence of a great 

2 



6 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

and general demand before it is supplied. The resources ol 
Nature, the triumphs of the human mind, and the order of 
Providence, all combine to meet the chief necessities of 
every age. Perhaps no more important, discovery has been 
made, in the department of the useful arts, than the new 
process of preserving wood, for which Mr. Louis S. Bobbins 
has received Letters Patent. The metallic compounds 
employed by several European inventors had all substan- 
tially failed. To say the least, the processes were all ex- 
pensive, the machinery imperfect, and the results unsatis- 
factory. The process of Mr. Bethell, of England, has been 



employed with far greater success than any other, especially 



in the preparation of railroad sleepers. He rejected the 
metallic solutions, and in their stead used an oleaginous 
compound obtained from coal tar. The means he employ- 
ed to remove the atmospheric pressure and the moisture 
from the wood— to the end that the oily compound might 
be made to permeate its substance — were expensive a i id- 
only partially effectual. In Mr. Bobbins' process the high 
temperature and the vapors of oil remove the air and moist- 
ure so effectually that the wood readily receives the liquid 
oil longitudinally through all its pores. When heavy tim- 
ber is to be prepared, it is not necessary that the oil should 
penetrate to the center. To facilitate the process in such 
cases, and to economize time and material, the oil may he 
applied in liquid form, after the hot vapors have expel- 
led the moisture, and the albumen of the sap has been com- 
pletely coagulated by the application of heat and the intro- 
duction of the creosote in the vapor. The superior advan- 
tages of this process may be briefly stated as follows : 

1. The hot vapors immediately force out a large portion 
of the air from the chamber ; the surface moisture is dissi- 
pated and the wood sufficiently seasoned. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



7 



* 



2. The materials used in the process are so expanded 
by heat as to till more than 1,000 times the space they oc- 
cupy in the liquid state. Being rendered thus subtile and 
penetrating, the elements essential to the result are readily 
admitted into the smallest pores of the wood. 

3. The heat accelerates the capillary action or molecular 

attraction ; and hence the antiseptic matter is conveyed 

more speedily and fully through the fibrous portions of the 
wood. 

4. The apparatus is simplified; and, for the reasons 
already stated, the process is rendered more rapid and 
complete. 

5. The wood treated by this process is left clean on the 
surface, and may be freely handled and immediately used 
for any purpose. 

6. If designed for out-buildings, fences, agricultural im- 
plements, or any other purpose in which ornament is not 
an object, the wood requires no paint, but where paint is to 
be used, the wood is most thoroughly prepared to receive 



it, being already primed in the most perfect manner. 



7. The wood in which the pores are largest, and the lig- 
neous fiber least compact, is rendered nearly as hard and 
quite as imperishable as the finest grained timber. 

8. The very nature of the materials with which the 
wood is impregnated, naturally renders it impervious to 
moisture ; and experience has already demonstrated that 
wood so prepared is comparatively imperishable. 

9. Neither science nor extraordinary skill is required in 
conducting the process, and the most perfect treatment 
under the patent involves but a trifling expense. 

In situations where it is constantly exposed to varying 
degrees of temperature and moisture, wood decays in a 
short time. The sills and sleepers of buildings, in moist 



8 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 












places, with little or no circulation of air beneath ; the fence 
posts set in the ground, and railroad ties, seldom last over 
five years. The decay of timber employed for these pur- 
poses is immense, so great, indeed, as to defy computation. 
In the few cases which admit of accurate estimates the 
facts are surprising, and fully justify the conclusion, that 

the actual loss to the country by the decay of wood in all 

the various uses for which it is employed in the mechanic 
arts— must amount to thousands of millions of dollars every 
year. It is true that in many places, and for many uses, 
wood does not decay so rapidly as in the particular cases 
already named ; still, if we could arrest this universal pro- 
cess of decay, but for one year, we should doubtless .save 
enough to cancel the present national debt. ' 

The. reader's attention may now be called to a more spec- 
ific statement of some of the particular uses to which this 
process for preserving wood may be applied with the 
greatest advantage. 



RAILROADS. 



In respect to the timber used for sleepers, we can deter- 
mine the annual waste, by the ordinary process of decay, 
with considerable precision. It requires 2,500 ties or 
sleepers for a single mile of railway. These are furnished 
at an average cost of one dollar, including the expense of 
laying down the same. As they must be renewed as often 
as once in live years, it will be perceived that the annual 
decay is at the rate of twenty per centum on the original 
cost ; or, annually, $500 per mile. The 50,000 miles of rail- 
tracks, now in the United States, necessarily require for 
their support 125,000,000 of sleepers. These must inev- 
itably be replaced, once in about five years, at a cost of one 
dollar each ; hence it will be percieved, that the annual ex- 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD 9 

penditure for this purpose is some 25,000,000 of dollars. 
As the Bobbin's process is sure to p 



eserve 



quarter of a century, and thereby render it unnecessary to 
change them during all that period, it follows that this 
immense sum (less the cost of the original treatment under 
the patent) may be annually saved to the country. For 
the local structures— depot buildings, storehouses, machine 
shops, bridges (the latter need not be covered), and the im- 
mense rolling-stock of our great railways, this process i 
scarcely less valuable, and its application to these uses 
must gr itly increase the dividends of our railroad corpor- 
ations. When the woodwork of the cars is otl irwise com- 
pleted, it may be readily subjected to this treatment ; and 
thus the same process will thoroughly season the wood, fill 

the po J and fibrous portions with powerful antiseptics, 

and cover the surface far more effectually than any priming 

known to the painter, leaving it in the most perfect condi- 
tion to receive an ornamental finish of paint and varnish 

when that is required. 

But we have not yet fully estimated the evil of the pie- 
sent rapid decay. In the course of three years after the 
construction of a railroad the ties begin to decay BO 

rapidly, that it becomes necessary to remove a greater or 
less number of the same in every succeeding year. This 
frequently obstructs travel and delays the transportation 

of merchandise over the road Moreover, the repairs of 

necessity disturb the bed on which the sleepers rest, and 

whatever unsettles the foundations of portions of the road 
is liable to render it less secure a- a whole, and the chances 

that accidents will occur are indefinitely multiplied. 

AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS. 

The Agricultural interest is the orf? upon which the true 






. 



10 ART OP PRESERVING WOOD. 

wealth of nations primarily and chiefly depends ; it follows, 
therefore, that a vast amount of capital is necessarily in- 
vested in the implements of husbandry. The inevitable 
exposure of these to all the vicissitudes of temperature and 
moisture in a short time renders them useless. If they do 
not immediately decay, the vitality and elasticity of the 
wood are soon destroyed, so that it is easily broken. The 
process here offered to the public affords a sure protection 
against the destructive effects of oxygen and moisture, and 
thus preserves such implements until they are literally 
worn out by attrition . • 



BARRELS AND CISTERNS. 



w 



- * ««."^o, v,o,otio ui various 

i sizes, and large cisterns for the spirits and oils of every 

possible description, and all the liquid products of our 
manifold industry. These barrels are now made from sea 
soned timber, making it necessary for the manufacturer to 
invest a large amount of capital in the quantity which 
must be kept on hand ; besides the timber is liable to be 
damaged for such purposes-while it is being seasoned— bv 



worm 



Green 



timber can be employed for this purpose, provided it be 
first treated by Mr. Bobbins' process. This offers an ad 
vantage which will be readily appreciated by every barrel 
manufacturer. A very large proportion of the package.. 
intended for transportation, both in our domestic trade and 
foreign commerce, are put up in this form ; and the con- 
tents of such packages probably represent more than one- 
fourth of the market value of the elements that enter into 
the commerce of the world. The certain exposure of such 
packages to all the clWes of tpn,™*,. ., j 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 11 

moisture results in an incalculable waste of valuable mer- 
chandise. Hence, all the wood employed for such purposes 
should be so prepared, that it will effectually resist the 
ordinary action of the elements. 



BRIDGES, PIERS AND WHARVES. 

The application of the Bobbins process to the lumber 
employed in the construction of these works, is of great 
practical importance. Such superstructures are ncessarily 
among the most expensive within the whole range of me- 
chanical art. But the cost of bridges may even be dimin- 
ished, if the materials are first subjected to this treatment, 
for the reason that they require no covering to protect them 
from the elements ; the expense of the roof and enclosure 

being entirely saved. 

But our estimate of the importance of a proper prepara- 
tion of the lumber used for such purposes is not to be de- 
termined by merely commercial or financial considerations. 
In respect to bridges, at least, it intimately concerns the 



</ 



Without such a prepara- 



tion, the piles and other timbers used in the construction 
of bridges soon decay ; besides they may be weakened by 
insects that bore them beneath and above the surface of the 
water. The treatment here proposed, not only preserves 
the whole structure from decay, but it also protects it from 
the naval worm and the parasitic fungi, which produce the 

dry rot. 

HOUSES AND OUT-BUILDINGS. 

In our own country the dwellings of 25,000,000 of people 
are chiefly made of wood; and in the world there may be 
600,000,000 who dwell in wooden habitations. A still 
larger proportion of all out-buildings are of such perishable 






12 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

materials, especially the shingles so generally used for cov- 
ering the roofs, and which should always be treated in the 
manner herein proposed. No reliable estimate can ever be 
formed of the loss to the world by the decay of buildings. 
Not only the materials perish, but all the labor expended 
in fashioning the same into the innumerable forms of use 
and beauty is likewise lost. The proposed treatment of 
lumber for such purposes, besides saving the priming coat 
of paint in all cases, would so increase its durability, that 
I a large portion of the labor now expended in erecting hu- 

: man habitations and other structures of wood, could be at 

I once directed into other profitable channels, thus augment- 

i ing the wealth of all civilized nations. 









. 



FENCES. 



The preparation of fencing materials certainly suggests 
one of the most important uses to which the new process 
for preserving wood can be applied. Some years since, Mr. 
John S. Skinner, while editing the Plow, Loom and Anvil, 
after a painstaking investigation of the subject, prepared 
and published a series of papers in which be is led to con- 
clude—from all the information in his possession— that the 
setting and repairing the fences of the United Stales actually 
cost the country as much as the building of the towns and 
cities. Especially in those portions of the Union where the 
people are obliged to use sawed lumber— obtained from a 
distance, as in Illinois and other parts of the great West— 
this process of treating wood must be of incalculable value, 
as fences so prepared and properly set will last for genera- 
tions. 

CARRIAGES AND CAR8. 

^ The process here offered is also important in the prepara- 
tion of lumber for vehicles of every description. Millions 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 13 



of dollars are invested in this business, and this treatment, 

specially as applied to the hubs of carriages, is of great 

practical utility. Without it the hubs v>on check or crack 

in such a manner as to 1"' -n the sj is, and thereby de- 
stroy the integrity of the whole wheel. Men over, the tim- 
ber cliielly used for hubs is that pint of the trunk nearest 

the ground, the portions further removed from the pool be- 
ing too soft for that purpose ; but this treatment renders 
the higher portions of the tree, if otherwise suitable, not 

less valuable for this particular purpose. 



FURNITURE AND MUSICAL [NSTRUMBNTS 

Th utility of applying this treatment to furniture and 
the eases of musical instrument will be obvious <>n ;i mo- 
ment's reflection*. 1. Green wood may be u d thus obvi- 
ating the net ity for tin investment of a lar^e capital in 
lumber. 2. The varying de<_n< s of moisture will not m 
the wood so treated to alternated swell and shrink. ^>. lt> 
tendency to warp and crack is greatly diminished. I. The 
wood — both surf a > and substance is most :tuallyoile<l. 
"». Soft woods are rendered much harder than befoi and 
hence susceptible of a higher polish. 6. Th wo lb mes 

more i sonant by this ti itment, which i> imj rtant if it 

is to be used for the ea-es of organs, pianofort and 

melodeons. 



PLANK ROADS \NI> WOOD I tfENI 

The chief objection to plank roads and « -I [cements 

is based upon then sure and rapid de< and the n< it) 

— after two or tin- years — for < at nit rip Th< 

treatment of wood for th ue s will, it is believed Dtire- 

Iv obviate thi> objection. Not onlj isthe w d pn t \ « •< I 

bum th ay, but it ia mueh l< gs liable t<> warp and el ck 

[ 






14 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

at the same time this treatment must so increase its capae 
ity to resist abrasion, that it will wear much longer. 



TELEGRAPH POLES. 



In I860, all Europe had 130,000 miles of telegraph, and 
at that time the United States alone had more than 50,000 
miles. It is doubtless safe to estimate the present aggre- 
gate length of all our telegraph lines at 60,000 miles. ° If 
j we allow forty poles to the mile, it will be perceived that 

. 2,400,000 poles are required for the lines already existing 

' in this country. The average cost of these— including the 

labor of preparing and putting them up— may be estimated 
at five dollars each, or $12,000,000 for the whole number 
now in use. More than double that number of poles is re- 
quired for the existing lines in Europe, where they are 
presumed to cost more than in this country. From these 
facts and estimates we are authorized to conclude, that the 
amount of capital invested in telegraph poles in Europe 
and the United States is not less than 40,000,000 of dol- 
lars. If we assume that they will last twelve years (this 
is not probable), the annual cost of replacing the decayed 
ones is more than 3,000,000 of dollars, which may "be 
saved by subjecting telegraph poles to treatment under the 
Bobbins patent. 



BUILDING OF SHIPS. 



Under this head we comprehend all ships, steamers and 
boats of every description, employed in the navy, and for 
the transportation of passengew and merchandise in the 
commercial and international intercourse f t be world. The 
importance of rendering wood indestructible, at least in a 
qualified sense, for the purposes here indicated, cannot be 



ART OFPRESERVING WOOD. 15 

too highly estimated. The vast sums expended in naval 
architecture, and in the whole merchant marine of all na- 
tions, are now measurably thrown away on account of the 
perishable natifre of the materials employed. Before the 
late war, some of the vessels intended for our navy decayed 
on the stocks, or were damaged by worms to such a degree 
that it became necessary to replace many of the timbers 
before these structures were completed. The builder scarce- 
ly kept out of the way of the destroyer. Our mechanical 
industry is sacrificed when we have only perishable and 
worthless memorials of its greatest achievements. 

The loss in consequence of this rapid decay is so great, 
that if it were in our power to submit accurate estimates 
of the same, the figures would astonish the whole communi- 
ty. Not only is this great loss unavoidable, so long as we 
use timber that has simply been prepared by the ordinary 
process of seasoning, but incalculable wealth, in the shape 
of merchandise, goes to the bottom of the ocean, every year, 
merely because our merchant vessels and steamers have 
been so far impaired, by the decay of some of their timbers 
or otherwise, that they give way, and the whole fabric goes 
to pieces amidst the strife of the elements. Thousands of 
lives are also lost from the same cause. This fearful de- 
struction admonishes us that the timbers of which we build 
our ships of war, foreign packets, merchant vessels, life- 
boats, etc., should be made of materials that are water-proof, 
worm-proof, and, if possible, time-proof. Not only does the 
Bobbins process preserve the wood from the destructive 
powers of oxygen and moisture, and from the ravages of the 
Teredo Navalis, in the most perfect manner possible, but 
this treatment by oleaginous compounds likewise prevents 
the corrosion of the metallic bolts, spikes and nails, employ- 
ed in the construction of all such works. 



lb 



ART OP PRESERVING WOOD. 









BURIAL CASES. 

The common desire we all feel to preserve the remains of 
the dead has led to the extensive use of metal cast instead 
of coffins made of wood. These are not only expensive, but 
they soon corrode, and it is questionable whether the best 
of them will last longer than twenty or thirty years. It is 
believed that wood thoroughly treated under the Bobbins 
patent will last a century in the ground. The cases found 

in the tombs of Egypt, where they have remained for 8,000 

years, are generally in a good state of preservation, It is 

well known that 1 1 j m easel were prepared With bitumin- 
ous substances, and that the same were used with the 

pyroligneous acid of wood in the prooesf of embalming their 

dead. 



AW have, in I he ex( reme Southern portion of our ootintrj 

1 a rge quantity a of perishable wood otton-wood and other 
.li varieties which maj be made available by tin; applica- 
tion of tlii> treatment, in the construction of railroads and 



po 



In M i and South America — where 



the ordinary d of wood i- more rapid than in more 
northern oounti - it is believed thai a goat market, may 
be op <'d for tl al«' of railroad timber and other lumbei 

pi . idedihr samel rendei durable b\ the treatment, 
herein niuDOSed. 



ART P P R E SERVING WOOD. 



17 



AMERICAN FORMS. 

THEIR hi ["RUCTION AND PRI-ERVATION. 

In the Last Agricultural Report emanating from the Doi 
partmeot at Washington, there is a very elaborate papa 
on the rapid destruction of our Foi its. The author lava 
before the country a mass of statistical information which 
cannot fall to startle till who properly estimate the impor- 
tance of the subject. From facts and figUN which we 

are not prepared to dispute, he is led to the conclusion 
that we shall ha ve a famine for wood in 1 1 1 i .-. < • 1 1 n i ry, with- 
in the pext thirty years, unle immediate measures m 
adopted whereby the supply ma} be augmented, or the 

destruction of what remains greatly diminished. 

It i- true that coal and peat may be substituted for 

wood, as fuel, but for a vast numb r of purposes in tb< 

mechanic Arts we can furnish nothing that will take the 
place of wood. This fact gives to the whole subject i 
grave importance ; ami when we remember that the mar- 
ket value of lumber is constantly men iiu, and that 

every \ tar diminishes the resources of our country, in t hi- 
r. Bpect, we think there may be substantial grounds for 
the serious apprehension BUgg* -ted bj th< Report fi m 

the Agricultural Bureau. W e Bubmit the important por- 
tions of that part of the Report : 

There tie few subjects M> do ly connected with th wan' of et] lie 

general health of the pi opls, Ibt salubrity of our . limate, tl prod DC ti I' 
our soil and the increase of our national wealtli, M our t and jn 

in: csi :' our rounti has I (erred so little attention at tl. liar ol 
I lo, and enjoj I so little of ring j ►lection from e G il 

It h my inte: ou in thi- artiele, by a simple array of impor 
ami a few tossing snggest ns, to call the attention especially of ( I- 





I 



18 ART OP PRESERVING WOOD. 

I holders, farmers, and mechanics to an impending national danger, beyond 

I the power of figures to estimate, and beyond the province of words to ex- 

I press. If I can influence these classes but a little : if but a few facts shall 

I k be added to the present knowledge possessed by each ; and if, therefore, 

I but a slight effort be put forth by every one of them, the aggregate of in- 

I tcrest, intelligence, and action thus obtained will be immense. There were 

I in the United States in 1860, 2,044,077 farms under cultivation. Could each 

I farmer, having timber on his own land, be led by the facts presented to so 

husband his trees, or improve their quality, or replace judiciously and 
i! speedily those removed, as to equal one-half acre of common forest each 

year, and if those whose lands are destitute of timber could be led to plant 
the equivalent of one-half acre per annum, we should either save or pro- 
duce, annually, 1,022,038 acres, which would be something toward offset- 
ting the destruction, and warding off the coming desolation. 

It is feared it will be long, perhaps a full century, before the results, at 
which we ought to aim as a nation, will be realized by our whole country, to 
wit : that we shall raise an adequate supply of wood and timber for all our 
wants. The evils which are anticipated will probably increase upon us for 
thirty years to come, with tenfold the rapidity with which restoring or 
ameliorating measures shall be adopted. Every hour, therefore, is precious. 
We have, as a nation, far too long disregarded this interest. Growth is 
slow and restoration tedious, while destruction is rapid and instantaneous. 
Delay, therefore, is both cruel and disastrous to ourselves. 

Among the things which are most fundamental to a nation's material 
growth and prosperity, we name these four — cheap bread, cheap houses, 
cheap fuel, and cheap transportation for passenger- and freights; A nation 
which produces the raw material for every species of manufactures and 
commerce, and that at low co^t — whose people provide their own houses, 
and raise all they consume — which can move its people, its product-, and 
manufactures, quickly and cheaply, is in a condition to establish the most 
complete division of labor, and to give to every man the results of his abili- 
ties, energy and skill. Such a nation must prosper. Its people will save 
and accumulate immense sums from their respective earnings ; and this 
question of wood enters largely and constantly into each one of these four 
great departments of industry and living. * * * * * 

The older portions of our country are, even now, drawing their supplies 
of lumber from the newer States. For black walnut, and some other woods 
used in cabinet manufactures and in carriage-building, the eastern State- are 
already sending to Michigan a I Wisconsin, while tens of million- of dol- 
lai worth of pine are brought about two thousand miles from our upper 
lakes and the head water- ol the Missi ppi toour Atlantic and Gulf seaboard. 
Foreign nations, also, are consumers of our forests. Oak and pine are ex- 



» 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 19 

ported by us to other countries for purposes of house and ship carpentry. 
A single gun factory in Europe, during the first two years of the rebellion, 
consumed 28,000 walnut trees to supply gun-stocks for the American mar- 
ket. This fact will give some indistinct idea of the consumption of lumber 
in great factories of cabinet ware, where the amount of wood required for 
the smallest article exceeds that required for the stocking of a musket. 

In the State of New York alone, within the ten years from 1850 to 1860, 
there were brought under cultivation 1,967,433 acres of land hitherto unim- 
proved. As there are scarcely any lands in the State of New York natur- 
ally untimbcrcd, it is probable that during those two years more than 1,500,- 
000 acres of what had 1 .etn (or was then) timbered land, was cleared for par- 
poses of lumber and agriculture. Thus, 500 acres of land were changed 
from wood-bearing and timber-growing, each d%y, for 300 days each year, 
through that period of ten years, into farming lands. 

During the same ten years more than 50,000,000 of acres in our whole 
country were brought under cultivation. But, these improvements were 
especially made in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, 
Ohio and Texas. These States, to a greater or less extent, are dotted with 
prairies, or suffer from a scarcity of timber ; many prairie farms were, there- 
fore, taken up. But bear in mind that every man seeking a prairie farm 
desires, in his selection, to secure small streams and as much timber as pos- 
sible upon bis farm, or near to it ; so that, while the reckless waste which 
attends new clearings in forest districts has not existed in the case of these 
prairie farms, their owners have wonderfully diminished the very scanty 
supply, even while they have dealt with it with an economy almost penu- 
rious. We will allow, then, for unwooded country brought into cultiva- 
tion, two-fifths of the whole, (which is probably more than twice as much 
as was the fact;) this will leave three-fifths of the 50,000,000 of acres 
brought into cultivation, or thirty millions of acres, which were lands either 
previously or during those years heavily timbered. Assuming, as befoi ■■ 
300 working days in each year, 3,000,000 of acres were thus, each year, 
lost to tree-growing, or 10,000 acres each day. 

In all regions remote from a market, and where logs and lumber cannot 
be readily exported, no matter how grand the forests, how excellent the 
timber, the trees are killed by girdling, and left to stand till overthrown by 
their own weight or by storms, and are then consumed by fire, yieldit in 
return for their displacement only ashes to act chemically upon the soil, die 
fin- often injuring the earth itself far more than the value of the ashes re- 
turned . 

The lands thus stripped of forests are permanently alienated from timber- 
growing. In many places in the eastern State- wh< f the mountains are 
too precipitous and rocky to allow of cultivation, a second growth of timber 



20 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

is permitted and even cherished for firewood and the making of charcoal ; 
but arable lands, once cleared, are scarcely ever permitted to be overrun a 
second time with forests. In fact, destructive man so utterly robs and im- 
poverishes his lands of timber that he destroys the beauty of the landscape 
and beyond the fence of his " wood-lot" leaves no shade for man or beast. 

Increasing population swells these evils. Between 1850 and 1860 our 

population increased 8,080,785. It is now advancing at the probable rate 

I of over one million souls per annum. The consumption and exportation of 

lumber in the United States, in 1860, was $37,390,310 more than in 1850. 

The ratio in this increase in population was but 35.59 per cent., while the 

I increase in lumber was 63.09 per cent. This shows that the demand for 

j wood for agricultural, mechanical and domestic purposes (notwithstanding 

' all the use of iron in manufacturing useful implements, and the use of iron, 

stone and brick for bridge and house building) increases each year with the 
advance of the nation in age and wealth. 

If for twenty years to come the demand for lumber shall advance in the 
|! i pame ratio to the population as in the past twenty, more than two hundred 

millions of <lollars' worth of American sawed lumber will be needed each 
year, and the same ratio in the increase of population, which has called the 
fifty millions of acres into use in ten years, will then becallin it in the rate 
of more than 100,0(i0,0()0 of acres each ten years. Our native-born and 
foreign population will have farms, lots and houses, fences, furniture 
vehicles and agricultural imp menta ; but every year they will impover- 
ish the United States more and more of her lumber, and all these thin 
will demand a higher price. 

The great Siate of New York -till holds pre-eminence as furnishing more 

lumber than any other State ; but as long ago as 1850 it reached the iax- 

imum of its ability to furnish bomber. With the enhanced price of I860, i 
compared with 1850, thai State produced about one million of dollars less of 

• lumber in 1860 than 1 n'jO ; while the State during those ten year- increased 
her population 783,841, she diminished her supply of lumber almost on 
million of dollars each year. Five olher Mates in this Union ilso diminish- 
ed their supplies of lumber during those ten years. Some of the newer 
Stales arc developing their lumber interests : but our whole country (sided 
l,v Inn : nations) is using up the products of their forests very rapidly. 
- iking of New York, the completion of a new railroad from Sarato; 

Springs! rthwestw I. called the Adirondac railroad, and traversing the 



rown 



l ence, bring - : amount of lumber into market, whicb has hitherto been 

ii -siblc. But it is doubtful whether even this will equal the amount of 

destruction, which will in the m<'an time, tak<' place in Other sccti< - ol the 

The black walnut has slmo-t wholly disappeared from the Stati 



\ 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



21 




The wild cherry and cucumber tree are great strangers, the hard maple 
and hickory in some .sections are nearly gone, while entire counties, 
formerly heavy with hemlock and pine, can with difficulty supply now and 
then a farmer witli a knotty sill for a small barn ; and the opening of the 
mountainous Adirondac region, it is feared by many, will so let down the 
;eold and storms of the northeast upon central and western New York, that, 
in the effect of the bleakness upon human health and the destruction of 
grain crops by intense cold, every foot of lumber secured therefrom for 
commerce and industry will cost double its value in the injury to other in- 
terests. 



. CONSUMPTION BY BUILDING RAILROADS. 

The average cost of sleepers for one mile of railroad is one-eighth the 
cost of the iron, with these points of difference; the iron, if of the best 
quality will last from twenty to twenty-five yen r^, while the sleepers will 
last but from five to seven years, unless chemically prepared at a great in- 
crease of cost Decayed sleepers are worthless, and are thrown away or 
given to the hands on the road for firewood. But, on the other hand, 
bruised, broken or split rails can be rcwrought, and come a second time 
from the rolling-mill with little waste, and even of better quality than 
when first made. The mere cost of rough timber for sleepers will probably, 
in time, prove to many of our railroads an expense greater than the first 
cost of rails, even the keeping of iron rails in repair. 

Between 1850 and 1860 there were built in the United States 22,204 
miles of new railroads. New timber was required for all these. But for 
nearly S,589 miles of previously existing roads there was needed, during this 
period for replacement of old timbers, more than the amount necessary for 
their first construction. So that there was used in that time 65,897,020 
pieces of timber, costing, at .the low average of thirty-five cents a piece, 
§23,063,957. But, besides all this, there were building and not yet brought 
into use, on January 1, 1862, about 17,827 miles of new mad, for all of 
which new sleepers were needed. When it is remembered that these sleep- 
ers are generally sound hemlock, chestnut and especially oak ; that tree 
arc ^elected to make them of a size just sufficient to furnish one or two 
sleepers only, (the tree being simply hewn on two sides, and having the 
heart entire^ the destruction of choice timber just approaching a size suit- 
able for sawing is immei •. 

The lumber used in fencing their lines of railroads, (more than 60,000 
miles,) and in erecting bridg depots, station-houses and cars, is also a 
great item, to which we have but limited means of approximating ; and 
leaving! it we will notice 



4 






22 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 




CONSUMPTION BY MECHANICAL INDUSTRY. 

There are sixty-six occupations enumerated in the census which depend, 
in whole or in part, upon lumber or wood as their raw material for manu- 
facture and commerce, employing a total of artisans of 470,623 souls, rep- 
resenting in their families, probably, more than 2,000,000 persons. We will I 
enumerate a few of them : Carpenters, 242,959 ; coffin-makers, 7.000 ; 
cabinet-makers, 29,223 ; chair-makers, 6 ; 341 ; sawyers, 15,000 ; millwrights, 
9,063 ; ship-carpenters, 13,379 ; coopers, 43,624 ; wheelwrights, 32,698 ; 
piano-makers, 2,378 ; coach-makers, 19,180 ; and thug proceeding until 
sixty-six classes are specifically named. Bat there are others whose callings 
are very intimately connected with the use of wood and depending upon it, 
not at first sight occurring to the mind as their occupations are named. 
There are charcoal burners, 203 ; lime burners, 1.4")6, brick-inkers, 13,736. 
How intimately are these trades connected with the entire < truction, the 
use and the manufacture of wood. All the occupations to which we have 
alluded are such that as our population increases, and the national wealth 
becomes greater, more persons will be demanded to labor in each, and the 
necessity for wood will become hourly more pressing. But we must not 
tarry. * * ** * * * 

Like the cloud £i no bigger than a man's hand, just rising from the sea/' 
an awakening interest begins to come in sight in this subject, which as a 
question of political economy, will place the interests of cotton, wool coal, 
iron, meat, and even grain, beneath its feet. Pome of tbeee, according to 
the demaml. can be | xtaeed in a few da^B, others in a few months, wool 
itself in a few years, but limber in not 1c than one generation, and sucji 
a- we are daily d >yin<j in not less titan five to fifteen generations. The 
nation has Blept because the gnawing of want has not awakened her. She 
has had plenty and to >pare ; but within thirty years she will bee onscions that 
not only individual want Is present, but that it comes to each from perma- 
nent national ■' -of wood. * * * 

Bernard Pallissy, the famous u Pol r of the Tuilcries," who died in the 
Bastile for his religion in 1581.*, > >s one of the most profound men ever 
produced in Europe. He then plead for the wood in France as follow?, 
(S Gh 1\ March, "Man and Nature/' page 29(1 :) " Havin expraned his 
indignation at the folly of men in destroying the woods, his int'-rloeator de- 
fends the policy of felling them by citing the i unple of divers bishops, 
cardinals, priors, abb monkeries and chapters, which by cutting their 

woods have made three profits — the sale of the timber, the rent of the 
ground, and the good portion they re ived of the grain own by the peas- 
ants upon it." To tin- argument Pallissy replies : I - unot enough detest 
'Ids thing, and I call it not an en . but a curse and a ea 7 to all France; 



• 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 23 

for when the forests shall be cut, all arts shall cease, and they who practice 
them shall he driven out to eat grass with Nebuchadnezzar and the beasts 
of the field. I have divers times thought to set down in writing the arts 
which shall perish when there shall be no more wood ; but when I had 
written down a great number, I did perceive that there would be no end of 
niv writing, and having diligently considered, I found there was not amj 
which could be followed without wood." * * * 

Hon. G. P. Marsh, than whom no man living is more competent to speak 
on this subject, thus warns his countrymen. His extensive travel, his high 
scholar.- hip, his official position as United States Minister to several foreign 
nations, his wonderful powers of observation and deduction, give to his 
wonts, verified by his own personal observation of the subject on four con- 
tinent-, the greatest authority and power : 

"There arc parts of Asia Minor, of Northern Africa, of Greece, and 
even of Alpine Europe, where the operation of causes set in action by man 
has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as 
that of the moon ; and though within that brief space of time men call the 
" historical period" they are known to have been covered witli luxuriant 
woods, verdant pastures, and fertile meadows, they arc now too far deterior- 
ated to be reclaimable by man ; nor can they become again fitted for hu- 
man use except through great geological chan *, or other mysterious 
influences or agencies of which we have no present knowledge, and over 
which we have no prospective control. 

" The earth is fast becoming an unfit home for its noblest inhabitant, and 
another era of equal human crime and human improvidence, and of like 
duration with that through which traces of that crime and improvidence 
extend, would reduce it to such a condition of impoverished productiveness, 
of shattered surface, of climatic excess, as to threaten the depravation, 
barbarism, and, perhaps, even extinction of the species. 

'• The destructive changes occasioned by the agency of man upon the 
flanks of the Alps, the Appenines, the Pyrenees, and other mountain ranges 
in central and southern Europe, ancf the progress of physical deterioration, 
have become so rapid that, in some localities, a single gexi:uatiox has 
witnessed the beginning and the end of the melancholy revolution. 

" It is certain that a desolation like that which fa overwhelmed many 
once beautiful and fertile regions of Europe awaits an important part of 
the territory of the United States, unless prompt measures are taken to 
check the tion of the destructive causes already in operation. It is in 
tain to expect that legislation can do anything eff mal to arrest the pro- 
- of the evil, except so far as the State is still the proprietor of extensive 
forests. Both Clave and Dunoyer agree that the preservation of the for ts 
in France is practicable only by their transfer to the state, which alone oaa 



24 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

protect them and secure their proper treatment. It is much to be feared 
that even this measure would be inadequate to save the forests of our Amer- 
ican Union. 

"There is little respect for public property in America, and the federal 
trovernment certainly would not be the proper agent for this purpose. It 
proved itself unable to protect the live-oak woods of Florida, which were 
intended to be preserved for the use of the navy ; and it more than once 
paid contractors a high price for timber stolen from its own forests. 

" The only legal provisions from which anything can be hoped are such as 
shall make it a matter of private advantage to the landholder to spare the 
trees upon his ground, and promote the growth of the young wood. Some- 
thing may be done by exempting standing forests from taxation, and by im- 
posing taxes on wood felled for fuel or timber ; something by premiums or 
honorary distinctions for judicious management of the woods. It would be 
difficult to induce governments, general or local, to make the necessary ap- 
propriations for such purposes. But there can be no doubt that it would 
be sound economy in the end." 

Such are some of the thoughts and words of this eminent scholar, states- 
man, and observer, published after this company had been fully organized, 
and for years in contemplation. His whole bunk, " Man and Nature," bears 
testimony on every page to the existing wants and evils already upon us, 
and which make the action of the government an instant and imperative 
necessity. * * * "* * * * 

Hear G. P. Marsh, fortified by the ablest European writers, respecting 
the appropriate proportions between wooded and tilled lands, in order to 
secure the highest agricultural and healthful returns. 

In 1750 Mirabeau i imated that there should be retained in France thirty 
two if cent, of the land in wood. The forest was destroyed, with the most 
disastrous effects upon the general prosperity, far faster than his estimate 
allowed, and the percentage was reduced far below that proportion. Marsh 
says : " It is evident that the proportion of forest in 1750, taking even 
Mirabeau's large estimate, was not y<*ry much too great for permanent 
maintenaifbe, though doubtless the distribution was so unequal that it would 
have been sound policy to fell the woods and clear land in BOhn jnor'n<< , 
while htrgeforeb hex I have bee&2^ anf ''d f " Others. During the period in 
question France neither exported manul tured wood nor rough timber, nor 
derived import nt collateral advantages of any sort from tho destruction 
of her forests. She is consequently impoverished and crippled to the ex- 
tent of the difference betw n irhai she actually j of wooded nu 

1 and what she ought to have retained. 



a C»: 



Since writing the above paragraph. I found the view 1 have taken of 
this point confirmed by the careful investigations of Kent, h, v otiumtcs 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 25 

the proper proportion of woodland to entire surface of twenty-three per 
cent, for the interior of Germany, and supposes that near the coast, where 
the air is supplied with humidity by evaporation from the sea, it might 
safely be reduced to twenty per cent. The due proportion in France would 
considerably exceed that for the German states. 

" Now, if the German states require 23 per cent, midway between the 
North sea, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean, what is demanded for the 
great area between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, almost with- 
out water from the Gulf of California to the Polar sea !" 



WOOD PAYS MORE THAN ONE-HALF THE ENTIRC INTERNAL REVENUE OF THE 

UNITED STATES- 

All wood that has beefr so used as to make it a part of man's real estate, 
or which is the staple of man's business as a manufacturer, is taxed as real 
estate or manufactured products. But all wood thus invested in any man- 
ner, where it pays to the owner an income, whether it is in movable or fixed 
form, is obliged, if he has an income of over six hundred dollars, to pay a 
second time on all that it lias clearly produced' him, except what he before 
paid as taxes. It is thus true that, in one form or the other, all standing 
timber, all lumber and wood used in houses, steamboats, or permanent in- 
struments of any kind, and all that is used in industry or manufacturing 
pays a tribute to the United States. 

Let us take, then, "the real estate of the United States : 

In the erection of ordinary buildings of brick and stone — not cut-stone 
walls — and with wooden floors and joists, it is estimated that the cost of 
timbering, flooring, roofing, wainscottinp;, the finishing of entrances, cor- 
nices, cupolas, doors, window-sashes and blinds, make an expense for wood- 
work equal to at least that for all the brick and stone work. The wood- 
work, then, which represents not only the raw material, but the labor ne- 
cessary to put it in its complete form and appropriate use, pays one-half of 
the tax accruing upon that improved property. And taxes are very light 
upon the same land, wherever situated, when without buildings, in compari- 
son to what they are when it is improved. But we must go further back. 

It required, if the building is one of brick, wood with which to burn the 
clay, making about one-third the expense of making the brick. In like man- 
ner the lime is burned with wood, and half its value arose from that ex- 
pense. But the clay is in the hank, the rock is in the quarry, and wagon 
made largely of wood, must carry the one to the kiln and the other to the 
pug-mill ; and, when burned, the same wagon is needed to draw them from 
the kilns to the place of using. But then we have not got far enough back. 
The brick-maker the lime-burner, the stone-mason, the bricklayer, the plas- 
terer, the painter, the carpenter, have all needed wood in their houses for 



26 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

fuel, in their dwellings to shelter them, in their stables to protect their ani- 
mals. But come to the building itself. Hogshead and lime box, a hod and 
a scraper, a mortar board and a pail, tressels and scaffolds, inclined plan*' 
and ladders, a plumb and a trowel — wood, wood, incessantly wood ! Even 
for the mason the same for the plasterer, the painter the carpenter, every- 
thing he grasps to work with is, first of all, wood. Far more than one- 
half of all the value of ordinary brick and stone buildings in the United 
States has come from wood, and pays one-half the taxes. But we come to 
other buildings. There were in the United States in 1860, 3,362,337 dwell- 
rag-houses, besides all public buildings, churches, educational institutions, 
stores, manufactories, depots, warehouses, &c. How large a proportion of 
these were brick we cannot tell { but by far the great majority were of 
wood. And what proportion of their cost came from manufactured wood? 
A little hardware, a little paint, a little masonry, the plastering, and all 
else was wood. But let us estimate a little on farm-hous "When these 
are built of brick, the lime and brick are often burned with fuel cut on the 
very farm where the house is erected. The barns and out-houses, and the 
fenn g are also generally constructed of wood. Now, if we assume that 
the houses, barns and fences give but one-half the value to the farm at 
which it is assessed, (which estimates the land unimproved as worth half as 
much as when thus improved,) then this astounding fact conies to our no- 
tice—the value of farms in the United States in 1860 was $6,654,015,700, 
nd the value of the lumber improvements would be $3,322,522,000. This 
has been cut from our soil and put into these permanent improve] nts, 
and pays taxes. 

Now the vast majority of these improvements have been made within 
the last thirty years, (probably twenty ;) and as within that time, probably, 
old houses, barns, and fences have been replaced sufficient to make the whole 
amount new ; during that period, on farms alone, there has been cut and 
used annually, and changed into permanent tax-paying property, #101,070,- 

000 worth of forest. These improvement- are continually growing old and 
falling into d< ly. But this is a single item. " A good barn will build a 
a good house," is an adage that thou Is of farmers have proved true ; 
the protection of crop-, the defence of stock, the shelter of vehicles and 
implements, have saved thousands of dollars, to many a farmer. How much 
of the income tax paid by the farmers of the nation represents the wood 
in ii r utensils, vehicles, barns, stables and fences, outside of the value 
assessed directly upon them? 

But pass a ) ment to manufactures. The cotton manufactures are 1hc 
second in the United Sta i as reported in the census for 1800, the products 

1 sj $116,137,926 ; the value of flour and grist mill products being tb 
first, and amount!) to $223,1 1 I '». Lotus now take lumber, and contra- t 



r 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 27 

it with these. There was of sawed and planed lumber in 1860, $96,000,- 
000 worth. The products of the grist-mills furnished occupation to 19,000 
hakei besides being used in every household supplied by the baker. The 
products of the cotton-mills, besides the private use in families, in part, 
gave employment to 90,000 seamstresses and 102,000 tailors and tailoresses. 
But as one-half the labor of these was expended on woolen, silk, or linen 
fabrics, it gave direct employment to about 96,000 men and women. Now 
the direct tax on the produced timber was almost as great as on the cotton 
goods, while in the line of furnishing employment to others in the simple 
nude of carpentry alone, employing only men, ir gave business to 212,958, 
or nearly three times as many as worked in cotton, and thirteen times as 
man; as worked in flour and meal. 

The iron interest and the machinery interest (often requiring much lum- 
ber) are immense, but the pig iron in 1S60 amounted to only $19,187,790, 
and the bar and other rolled iron to $22,248,796, making a total of $11 - 
86,586. The machinery made in this country in 1860 amounted in value to 
$17,118,550, and of sewing machines to $5,605,345, making a total of iron 
produced and machinery manufactured in 1860 of $94,460,481 — a million 
and a half dollars less than the raw lumber of the country which had 
]■ -i-il through the saw-mill. 

I have before said that there are sixty-six trades in whole or in part de- 
pendent upon wood as their material for manufacturing. What they can 
earn or do earn cannot be known ; but two points will help us to approximate. 
There were 29,223 cabinet-makers, who produced $22,701,304 worth of 
ware ; also 3,510 piano-makers, musical-instrument maker- and organ-build- 
ers, who made $5,791,807 worth of musical instruments. If we should 
average these two trades, we should certainly set our mark too high, a - 
one is low, and the other unusually high, demandii skilled labor. The 
production per capita above was, in the first, $771, in the other, $1,651. 
Should we estimate the production of those 176,623 artisans in wood at 
$1,000 each, we should have nearly $50^,000,000 per annum, of which 
scarcely a trifle, excepting the two items above of about 28,000,000, ap- 
pears in any column of the census. This is additional to the making of 
the lumber itself. From all incomes over $600 the United States exacts a tax. 

United States buildings, capitols, and public buildin belonging to the 
respective States, and all educational institutions and county property, and, 
jeneually, churches, are exempted from taxation, and therefore are of no 
yalue under this particular point of revenue, although, if they are of such 
vast importance, subserve such necessary and useful pnrp . and are paid 
for by the money of the people generally, their wood pa; its tribute to the 
maintenance of the government, the dispensing of justice, and the diffusion 
of religious truth and influence through the nation. 



30 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



CARBOLIC ACID AS A DISINFECTANT. 

The North British Review, No. LXXXVIIL, has an im- 
portant article on Disinfection, in which the writer dis- 
cusses the effects of carbolic acid as a means of preserv- 
ing animal and vegetable substances. The following 
extract will suffice to show the authors view of the impor- 
tance of this substance in its relation to the arts and to 
* medicine. It also involves a very strong scientific indorse- 
ment of the great value of our method of preserving wood : 

Carbolic Acid.— Heat is compound in .its action, cold is purely colytic. 
There is another action of pure colysis, so far as we know, in carbolic acid. 
We feel inclined to go back to the ancients, when speaking of this substance. 
The Egyptians, as we find in Hoefer's History of Chemistry, used oil of 
.cedar, which he calls turpentine. We are inclined to think that it was not 
true turpentine, which is not a very good agent in enbahninir, and we think 
' rather that it was a very mixed tar-oil, and would contain the tar acids. 
Ancient Egypt wrote little for us, but we find in Pliny such an account of 
the manufacture of oils as a literary man would write. The tar was boiled, 
and the fleeces of sheep held over it, in order to collect the less volatile oils. 
The naphthas, by this process, would be lost. The distillation must have 
been carried very far, as there was obtained a reddish pitch, very clammy, 
and much fatter than other pitch. This was the anthracene, chryscne, and 
pyrene of later times. 

The remainder was \\\c palli i < j > '< ssa , or -econd pitch, — what we call pilch, 
as distinguished from tar. Sometimes this name was given to the Bubetauc 
obtained by distillation; a good deal of confusion, therefore, is caused. 
The product in the 11 ce would contain the heavy oils, and with them the 
carbolic acid (phenk acid, or alcohol). It was called picenum ;>>*■* >,„m or 
piszdan,,,, ; that is, pitch or tar oil, as we call the crude product now. They 

used it for toothache, as we use it still, and for skin diseases of cattle, which 
w u-e beginning i<> do also. Hams were also smoked by hanging them on 
the roof, above the fires.* 

Range called the en <>te from coal, carbolic acid, or coal-oil. It really 
has a- id properties, bat im composition is analoiron- to alcohol : and ii is 
stran that several bodies of that i '.nstitution should have so orach power 

of preventing putrefaction. K-ichenbach obtained it among his inaiiv new 
bodies, which people could not find till long after he did. Alcohol, common 

methylated spirit, fusel oil. carbolic acid, and cresylic acid, which latter is 

ind in the distillation from coab. are all antiseptic. Carbolic acid is 



Thi* and ether allusions from Lecture on Disinfection, &>ciety of Art* Jonrn/d, 1887. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 31 

found in the products of distillation of wood, of benzoin resin used in fumi- 
gation. It is even found, according to some, in animal secretions. The 
tar-barrels burnt in the time of epidemics, from the earliest date till this 
year, give out this acid, but would give out more if the flame were sup- 
pri sed, and distillation only allowed. The world has admired this sub- 
stance without knowing its existence, and sought it in every corner, using 
various names to express it, wrapping it in bundles to carry around them, 
burning it in pastilles for fumigation, and sometimes in public in great bon- 
fires, ivages use petroleum for their wounds and their cattle, and the 
most civilized of old times kept in products of tar the dead that they desired 
to preserve to a joyful rising. Bishop Berkeley tells us that it was used as 
tar-water in America, the tar being merely stirred up with the water, and 
the water drunk, a glass at a time. He himself bad tried it in many dis- 
eases, and tells us of small-pox, erysipelas, skin diseases, and ulcers being 
cured by it ; quotes the pitching of wines by the Romans aa a proof of its 
value, and Jonstonus, in his Dendoprapkia, as saying that it is wholesome 
to walk in groves of pine-trees, which impregnate the air with balsamic 
particles. The learned writer then goes on to say that, although he may 
be ridiculed, he suspects tar-water is a panacea ; "and as the old philoso- 
pher cried aloud from the house-tops to his fellow-citizens, 'Educate )/o>/r 
children ;' so I confess, if I had situation high enough, and a voice loud 
enough, I would cry out to all the valetudinarians upon earth, Drink tar- 
water." What, then, is the wonderful agent after which men have hinted 
in tar-water? Like all such hopes of men, it becomes less when it is found, 
but it is still of great value. It is not one thing only, there are many things 
to be found. We have the tar acids and turpentine, benzole, aniline, acetic 
acid, and many other things from tar, and each has its place. 

Of these substances from tar, carbolic acid has taken the lead. It will be 
seen that its chief properties were examined by chemists some years ago. 
Not to go further back than Gmelins Chemistry, or, still earlier, 1843, 
Liebig's edition of Geiger's Chemistry, the crystals melt between 34" and 
35° Cent., the liquid boils at 187", is oily, and resembles in smell creosote, 
burns the skin, which peels off, coagulates blood, but does not stop bleeding j 
sp. g. 1062 at 20° O.j burns with smoke, decomposed by chlorine and bro- 
mine, gives picric acid when treated with nitric acid. " The relation of 
carbolic acid to organic substances is very interesting," etc. A solution 
saturated destroys plants rapidly ; coagulates blood ; is very hurtful if 
allowed to touch the eyes ; leeches and fishes die in it without convulsions ; 
animals dry up without decomposing ; weak solutions of gelatine are not 
made turbid by it, but strong are ; albumen it coagulates to a mass soluble 

in exec— of albumen. 

Skins treated with lime become, in a solution of carbolic acid, horny and 






; / 









32 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

transparent ; laid in water they become soft and slippery, like fresh skin 
but don't again become foul. Putrid flesh loses its smell at once ; so with 
excrements. The acid combines with the substance. 

Speaking of creosote, Gmelin says water with 1 in 10,000 smells of 
smoke. Its most wonderful property is its preservation of flesh. It stops 
flow of blood. It kills beasts, fishes, and insects. Plants are killed, and, 
like animal substances, preserved from decay. Liebig says also that it was 
used long before Reich enbach discovered -it, as aqua Binelli, kept a secret 
in Italy. The aqua empyreumatica of Silesia contained some of it, made 
by distilling crude wood vinegar with lime. 

Lemaire, in his book Dc VAcide Phenique, 1865, gives numerous details, 
and shows fully the truth of the earlier observations, with much additional 
matter. It lias been supposed that its power to stop decomposition is the 
same as its power of coagulating albumen ; but a solution of 1 in 1000 of 
water will not coagulate albumen, while it prevents fermentation of sugar, 
and also putrefaction in certain conditions. 

So thoroughly has the belief in tar gained ground, that it rank3 among 
the firmest superstitions of the world. There are people now who expect 
to remove the cattle-plague by marking a cross with it on the wall before 
the nostrils of their cattle ; and when we read Lemairc's book — by a scien- 
tific man who leans on facts — we find him scarcely less enthusiastic than 
Berkeley himself. We must remember that, although the latter bad not 
modern training in science, he was a man of genius. 

There is neither life nor decay without motion. 

Tar acids arrest that motion which takes place in decay. They therefore 
are antiseptic ; they antisept. As soon as the decay ceases, the putrid gases 
cease to arise. Tar acids are therefore disinfectant. They prevent oxida- 
tion, but not of inorganic substances. They don't prevent iron from rust- 
ing. The movements there required are too powerful ; but in organic sub- 
stances there is more yielding, and there carbolic acid shows its influence 
by preventing their oxidation. Mr. Crookes, in his report, says that it 
may be looked on as distinguishing vital phenomena from those purely 
physical. Pettenkofer, on the other hand, finds that although it arrests 
fermentation, the ferment preserves its power, and acts when the carbolic 
acid is gone. Such a result can only occur when the acid is used weak. 
At Carlisle, the use of carbolic acid has been employed for years, prevent- 
ing rot, and preventing the growth of all unpleasant decomposition, so com- 
mon in soils heavily manured. This leads Qfl to a curious point. It would 
appear that we can apply such graduated amounts as will arrest putrefac- 
tion, which we may call lower organic phenomena, or destroy the vital 
power entirely. We can then proceed to destroy the higher vegetable and 
noxious animal life. 




ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 33 



» 



CHAMPOLLION ON EMBALMING. 

It is a well known fact that human bodies, linen fabrics, 
and wooden sarcofagi, were treated by processes known to 
ancient Egyptians, which preserved them for thousands of 
years. In the work on Ancient Egypt, pages 260-262, 
will be found descriptions of the various modes of em- 
balming. But by the process referred to in the following 
extract, it will be seen that the principal preservative ma- 
terial used was the same as that employed in the " Bob- 
bins Process." Champollion says: 

" The first operation of the embalmers consisted in extracting the brain 
through the nostrils by means of a bent instrument ; the cavity of the head 
was then filled by an injection of liquid of very pure bitumen, which hard- 
ened in growing cold. The covering of the brain has been taken from the 
head! of mummies in a state of perfect preservation ' 

H Often, instead of drying the body, they injected into all the veins, by a 
very complicated and costly process, a liquor chemically prepared, which 
had the property of preserving the body and leaving its members almost all 
their natural elasticity. 

11 The intestines and the principal viscera were submitted to a preparation 
of boiling bitume?i. The brain, the heart, and the liver were enveloped 
separately in a piece of linen, and deposited in four vases which were filled 
with the same bituminous substance rendered liquid by fire* After a full 
description of the manner in which the bodies were then bandaged, deco- 
rated, &c, the author says, M It appears also from the condition of some 
mummies, that after the preparations, they were plunged all dressed into a 
vat of boiling bitumen, which penetrated them even to the marrow of the 
bones." 



FROM A MEMBER OF THE N. Y. HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

New York, July 25, 1867. 

To J. Richard BARRET, President National Wood Preserving Company. 

Dear Sir, — In reply to your note, containing inquiries regarding the 
Preservation of Wood, etc., etc., by the ancients, I have to say, that centu- 
ries ago, when the banks of the Nile became so densely populated, and the 






34 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



forests of Northern Africa disappeared and .were converted to the uses of 
civilization, it became necessary to adopt some means to preserve all arti- 
cles that were composed of wood from mould or decay. Wood became 
valuable ; the demand for it was imperative. How long it required to 
bring the processes of preservation to perfection, it is now impossible to 
find out ; but that the Egyptians had a process, and that they did preserve 
wood and many other perishable things, for thousands of years, there is no 
doubt. 

In the New York Historical Society, corner of Second Avenue and 
Eleventh Street — which contains the Egyptian Museum — can be seen wood 
which is over four thousand years old ; also linen, towels, robes, 
ropes, canvas, paper, and numerous household articles and implements, all 
of which have been preserved and are now in good condition ; so that 
whatever may be said, as to what can or cannot be done in this age, we 
have the incontrovertible fact before us, that wood has been preserved for 

OVER FORTY CENTURIES. 

The preservative arts were carried to great perfection by the Egyptians, 
but were known only by the learned, and sacredly guarded as important 
secret-. When the decadence of the Pharaoh's began, and the waves of 
tgarbaric invasion swept over that cultivated people, the preservative art 
:iud many others were lost in the darkness of the centuries that followed. 

The tombs that overlook the waters of the mysterious Nile, became the 
repositories of all that was earthly of the Egyptians. In the palaces of the 
load were the archives of the nation ; they were sealed and remained so 
for ages. The traveler and antiquarian at last entered their -acred halls, 
and made discoveries that must be of great benefit to mankind. Not the 
least among these was the fact that wood will hepr<s, rvedfor <i<jm. From 
a careful and minute examination of the different articles now in the Egyp- 
tian Museum, we feel confident that the means used to preserve tin -in con- 

d in permeating them with asphaltic or oleagenous vapors. 

The vast consumption, waste and d« .y of wood in this country, have 

already Lmonished our people that we too mast follow the example of 

older nations in the preservation of articles of absolute necessity, as well as 
those thin upon which time, labor and money have been expended. 

To rediscover the loaf arts of the anciente, has for years occupied the 
attention of the fii>t mind- of the old world ; but it seems to have been 
reeei \< 1 for an American to discover and apply practically one of the most 

important. * 

It i- a remarkable fact that all the articles at the museum have the same 
dark brown appearance, and ai -trough* impregnated with creosote and 

asphaltmn. Viewed under a magnifying len- they praent every evidence 

of having been permeated with vapor. If this be so ; the Robbins process 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 35 

will prove to be no less than the discovery of the lost art of preservation 
as practiced by the ancient Egyptians ; and as time advances, and wood 
becomes scarcer, this discovery must increase in value and importance. 

Yours truly, j. w. m. 



WOODEN PAVEMENTS. 

In our principal cities there is a growing disposition to 
adopt wood in the place of stone and iron for pavements. 
But two weighty objections have been urged against the 
general adoption of the wooden pavements heretofore em- 
ployed ; and these are based on the perishable nature of 
Mich pavements and their influence on the atmospheric 
conditions of health. These objections are, however, com- 
pletely obviated by the application of the National Wood 
Preserving Company's method — known as tiie " Rob bins 
Process" — in the treatment of the blocks. The vaporized 
elements of carbolic acid and creosote, with which the 
wood is thoroughly impregnated, are the most effectual 
of all known disinfectants ; and it is especially worthy of 
observation, that they never lose their preservative power, 
but continue to be operative for an indefinite period. (See 
the preceding article from the North British Review.) 

This treatment not only preserves the wood from decay, 



ut it hardens it, cementing the fibers together, and ren- 



dering it capable of resisting every form of compression 
and abrasion in an extraordinary degree. It is only neces- 
sary to prepare wooden pavements by this method and 
our great cities may be constantly fortified against pesti- 
lence. The most powerful antiseptics and disinfectant^ 
will be everywhere diffused through, and will remain in, 
the very pavements of our streets, until the same are lit- 
rally worn out. 



36 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 









THE SANITARY QUESTION. 

From the Hartford (Conn.) Daily Times, of June 20, 1667. 

We perceive that an important communication has been made to the 
Board of Health of New York, by Prof. S. B. Brittan, M. D., who repre- 
sents to that body, that the general adoption of wooden pavements — unh 
they are suitably prepared by some chemical treatment that will coagulate 
the albumen of the sap — would seriously endanger the public health. Dr. 
Brittan is known in this country and in Europe, as the author of an elab- 
orate treatise on the physiological and metaphysical philosophy of human 
nature. His scientific expositions of the influence of subtile agents on the 
atmospheric conditions of health, and on the organic functions of living 
beings, have attracted the attention of learned men in both hemispheres. 
It was but natural, therefore, that his communication to the Board of Health 
should be referred to the Sanitary Committee. 

From the following, which we find in the Herald and Tribune of a recent 
date, it will be perceived that Dr. Stone, from the Sanitary Committee, 
made a report, fully concurring in the opinion of Prol »r Brittan, in re- 
pect to the dai _ rous tendency of the present wooden pavements — if n- 
crally adopted — and requesting the further reference of Or. Brittan's com- 
munication to I lis Honor the Mayor : 

Cf Dr. Stone, from the Sanitary Committee, to whom had been referred 
the communication of Dr. Brittan on the unhealth fulness of wooden pave- 
ments, reported that they were deleterious to the public health mile per 
ineated by some chemical substance to coagulate the albumen in the wood, 
to prevent its decay; and requested that Dr. Brittan's communication be 
referred to Hia Honor the Mayor for his consideration. The communica- 
tion was so referred." 

A friend who is familiar with the proceedings of the Metropolitan Board 
of Heal tli has furnished us with the materia] portions of the letter addressed 
to Jackson S. Schultz, President of the Board. 



EXTRACT FROM PROF! OB BRITTAN ? S LETTER. . 

Before we conclude to adopt this (the Nicholson) or any other wooden 
pavement, two very important quc-tions should be definitely settled. First, 
can a pavement made of wood be rendered suffieicnth durable to warrant 
our laying it down in the principal thoroughfares of a great commercial 

city. When wood is exposed to all the ch es of temperature aad do- 

l of moi ire. it will decay within live yean. A single rotten pi- f 
timber may moreover, be Mlffident to impair or destroy die inte of 

the whole raperstroctnre to which il belongs. In respect to pavement 

few <• ayed blocks mal : * n arv • disfi«ii tin -uri'ace and to inter- 









ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 37 

rupt the travel on the street. After two or three years wear the damaged 
blocks must be removed and others substituted, and the occasion for such 
repairs become, in every succeeding year, more frequent and imperative. 

Nearly thirty years ago wooden pavements were tried in this city and 
Boston. In the last named place the citizens objected that the immense 
quantity of moi-ture absorbed in wet weather, and exhaled under the action 
of the sun's rays, rendered the atmosphere unwholesome, and even dampened 
the merchandize in the stores. At length, owing to the determined oppo- 
sition of merchants and other property owners, the wooden pavements were 
taken up and never replaced. In this city the early experiments were 
. scarcely more satisfactory. For a quarter of a century no further attempts 
were made to pave the city with wood. 

The block pavements of that early period may have been inferior to the 
Nicolson pavement, in respect to structure, but certainly not in the inherent 
durability of the wood. Mechanical perfection, however, avails little or 
nothing when the materials of which the structure is composed are intrin- 
sically frail or necessarily perishable. The public mind has of late been 
constantly occupied with some structural device, &11& in this way it has been 

f diverted from the graver question that relates to the durability of such 

pavements. While this is of fundamental importance, the mechanical fea- 
ture is comparatively of little moment. 

But a question of still more vital importance remains to be satisfactorily 
disposed of before we can consent to the general use of wood pavements. 
How is the public health likely to be affected? This question does not 
merely interest private capitalists and public contractors ; it deeply con- 
cerns the whole community. In this case my observations have led to very 
definite conclusions, and these are all adverse to the adoption of wood for 
pavements, unless it can be so prepared as to obviate the main objection. 
Every well-informed person is aware that large masses of decaying vegeta- 
ble matter destroy the necessary conditions of health, so far as these depend 
on the state of the atmosphere. If New York were wholly built of wood, 
and the outer surfaces of the buildings left without paint, the city would 
inevitably become pestilential. It is a mistake to suppose that the atmos- 

» pbcric conditions of health can be preserved even while the fibrous portions 

of the wood remain sound. Long before the ligneous part of the wood is 
visibly impaired the albuminous elements putrify, and as often as moisture 
is absorbed from the atmosphere*, in any considerable quantity, it is exhaled, 
not in a pure state, but combined with more or less albumen in a putrescent 
condition. This contaminates the air we breathe and the conditions of 
health are thus interrupted. This must inevitably follow the paving of the 
city wUh wood, unless it be first prepared by some chemical or other process 
that will prevent decay and change the ordinary conditions of its elements. 

6 






38 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

The partial or complete application of coal tar, in a crude state, to the 
outside of blocks will not accomplish the object. This superficial treatment 
does nothing to coagulate the albumen, or to otherwise render it insoluble 
in water. The most essential conditions of decay all remain and must be 
removed by some other and more radical method. To render the adoption 
of wooden pavements compatible with the public health, the Mocks muM he 
thoroughly permeated by some agent that will at once produce a complete 
coagulation of the albumen and protect the fibre from moid ure. If an agent 
can be selected that will, at the same time, serve the city as a constant and 
powerful disinfectant, a great object will have been gained by the substitu- 
tion of wooden pavements in the place of stone and iron. 

In the forests, Nature shades the surface of the ground, so that the pro- 
cess of vegetable decomposition, even in summer, is not materially acceler- 
ated by exposure to the sun. On the contrary, a vast woodland, in the 
shape of street pavements in a state of decay, covering one-third of the 
whole area of the city, and constantly exposed to the alternations of rain 
and sunshine, will soon fill the whole atmosphere with a pestilential malaria, 
consisting of the putrid albuminous exhalations from a dead forest. This 
would render the island a charnel house. 

It is said that the materials and the process employed by Mr. Robbins 
to which we have heretofore referred in the Qouv, meet all the require- 
ment- in respect to health, the substances used in the preparation of the 
wood being in themselves powerful disinfectants. If the natural process 
of decay can be prevented, and especially if wc can have the means of pro- 
tection against pestilence infused into and through the very pavements of 
our streets, the public should know it. and make haste fee adopt the improve- 
ment. 



HEALTH IN THE PAVEMENTS. 

Certain parties interested in the Nicolson pavement 
illume that coal tar, applied to the surface of the blocks 

answers every purpose, as a disinfectant, that can be ac- 
complished by the use of the besi products obtained l>y 

il^ distillation. This is a very grave mistake, thai has it 

origin either in a Mind devotion to personal interests, in- 
difference to the public welfare, or otherwise in utter igno- 
rance of the scientific facts in the case. 

The chief antiseptic and disinf! tant elements of the tar 









ART OF PRESERVING WOOD 



39 



■ 






are known as creosote and carbolic acid. These can only 
be eliminated by the application of the requisite degree of 
beat and the process of distillation. While these are 
united with all the other and heavier constituents of the 
tar, they are quite inactive, and, of necessity, in this crude 
form can only produce a surface effect, which leaves the 
work of organic and chemical decomposition to go on 
within. To claim anything more or better than this as 
the result of such a treatment, is an unwarrantable as- 
sumption. It must be obvious that the beneficial effects 
of the greatest known disinfectant — carbolic acid — can 
never be obtained by merely besmearing the outside of the 
blocks with tar. Indeed, the article known as carbolic 
acid does not exist, in fact, until it is formed by disengag- 
ing and uniting certain gases in the process of distilla- 
tion. 

When wood is treated under the Robbins patent the 
preservative elements of carbolic acid and creosote — which 
are disengaged or generated in and by the process of dis- 
tillation — act directly and with all their force on the chem- 
ical constituents of the wood, so as at once to arrest and 
forever prevent albuminous fermentation. At the same 
time the fibrous portions of the wood are completely oiled 
in such a manner as to protect the same from moisture. 

The conference of medical men recently assembled at 
Weimar, to consider the subject of Cholera, its causes and 
the method of its treatment, recorded their unequivocal 
testimony in favor of carbolic acid as a disinfectant, and 
as a means of arresting and preventing that fatal disease. 
We copy 

From the New York World of July \2, 1867. 

The attendants at the conference were from various cities of Germany, 
Holland, Prussia, Austria, Hungary and Russia. Their discussions were 
based upon the experience and studies of the distinguished gentlemen who 



j 












40 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

had thus agreed to meet and compare their views and the results of their 

observation. 

The conference expresses, as its deliberate conviction, that the efforts to 
arrest and prevent cholera by disinfectants should be continued in the most 
energetic manner, and they recommend the use of carbolic acid as the best 
and cheapest article to be used. In the report of this conference it is stated 
that Professors Klob and Thome have discovered a minute microscopical 
growth that seems thus far to be exclusively produced in cholera excre- 
ments. The spores of that little growth, multiply with marvelous rapidity, 
and they are not destroyed by ordinary doses of chlorine or chloride of 
lime, but are killed by carbolic acid. 



RELATIVE WEAR OF DIFFERENT PAVEMENTS. 

FROM CARRIAGE-WHEELS AND HORSES SHOES. 

We are indebted to Mr. Fisher, a well-known engineer, 
artist and journalist of this City, for the following com- 
munication which will be read with interest in this con- 
nection. In the light of his statement it will appear, that 
the general adoption of a permanent wooden pavement 
would involve a vast saving in horse-shoes and carriiiL - 
tires, and also in the labor of cleaning the streets. Of 
course the tving of horse/'*// and in vehicle-, gen rally, 
would be vastly greater, and scarcely to be estimated. 

Macxeil weighed the shoes of horses and the tii of stq tad « pons, 
when new, and after they were worn out on Macadam roa< While the 

-hoes of the horses of a stage lost 1000 lbs., the tirc3 lost hut 826'fl lbs., 
or less than a third as much ; and while the tir< of a w on. in traveling 
G,ol v mile-, lost 509 lbs., the shoes of its lior 1 lost 860 lbs. He con- 
sider I that the wear of roads by the wheel- :uid the feet, r • i i \ - ■ 1 \ wig 
about in proportion to the w u <>{' the iron ; and that Bt es wear 

the roads three times aa moch as 1 stages nd*ra n-horse rear the roads 
one and a quarter timee aanrach Bfl the wagons. On paw-mem.- the propor- 
tions were different : while a cab, w( ighing 1,050 IU*. f worea certain weight 

of iron from its tir wn times j idi w worn from its hoi s r ^l 

Analyses > re made of the sweepings of M adam r and stone and 
wood pavements in London, by which it wa- proved that on Macadam one- 
ninth of the dirt was manure ; on stone paveinenti one-third was manure ; 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 41 

and on wood pavements it was considered all manure, and readily paid for 
as such by farmers. The wear of shoes and tires on the wood was slight, 
but was not accurately measured ; enough, however, was shown to prove 
that wood pavements are much cleanlier than stone — probably the dirt 
from them is about a third as much as that from granite pavements, such 
as arc much used in London, and such as that now being laid in Broadway. 
Noise, vibration of buildings, etc., mucli less. It should be recollected 
by stage-owners, whether horses slipped on the wood pavements we had 
here thirty years ago. In London they slipped where it was hilly ; but 
London is more hilly and more wet than New York. If they will not slip 
on blocks that fit together, Nicolson'a method of setting them an inch 
apart, with gravel between them, is worse than useless : it makes more 
rumbling, costs more, and makes a less durable pavement, and imposes a 
royalty, and prevents free competition in paving. 



THE MOST USEFUL DISINFECTANT: 

From the Scientific American of Sept. 8, 1866. 

Carbolic acid Las lately come to be a great favorite as a disinfectant. 
Where its virtues are best known it is more relied on thrm any tiling else as 
a preventive of cholera. There are those who think that if it were liberally 
used wherever there is unhealthy organic decomposition, miasmatic diseases 
would soon become unknown. Our very efficient Board of Health, we ob- 
serve, have added it to their list of disinfectants, and are using it on a large 
scale. At the next cholera season we predict that it will be better known 
and be more valued than any other disinfectant. 

The reasons why carbolic acid is such an admirable disinfectant are easily 
to be understood. Miasmatic matter, and almost everything contained iu 
the air which is offensive to the senses, are the products of the fermentation 
or the putrefaction of organic matter. Now, it has been found that car- 
bolic acid is the sovereign and never-failing anti-putrescent and antiseptic. 
The power of carbolic acid is wonderful for its promptness and its persist- 
ence* Putrefaction can neither go on nor be commenced in its presence ; it 
preserves everything in st^tc quo. It is certain that' several organic poi- 
sons act like a ferment, or are matter in the state of decomposition. Mr. 
Crookes has shown that the virus of the rinderpest is of this character, and 
it has long been surmised that the virus of serpenfs and of contagious dis- 
eases belong to the same category. In all these case, wherever carbolic 
acid can be applied, it may prove to be a specific. 

Chloride of lime acts very promptly as a deodorizer of the air, and to 
this fact it owes its high reputation. It destroys noxious matter by bring- 






4:> 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 




ing about a chemical change in it. It enters into chemical union with some 
part of it, and no longer exists in a state to do more useful work ; it is ex- 
hausted in doing its work ; it is wholly used up. Moreover, chlorine acts 
by reason of its affinity for hydrogen ; and as hydrogen is an element of in- 
nocuous matter, it wastes much of its energy where it is not needed. It 
deodorizes promptly, but where is the evidence that the virus has a foul 
odor ? How do we know that anything beyond the odor is destroyed? 

Carbolic acid, on the other hand, goes to the root of the matter. It acts 
as a preventive. It destroys our enemy in the egg. No noxious effluvia 
can come from the matter with which it is in contact. It mixes kindly with 
everything. A very remarkable fact about it is, that in doing its work, 
there is no chemical change. It remains always free carbolic acid, and the 
matter with which it is surrounded continues the same as at the first instant 
of contact. Thus the carbolic acid is never consumed, and may continue 
forever its office of restraining the demon. 

Two simple experiments illustrate the peculiarities of chlorine and car- 
bolic acid. Bring a piece of putrid meat into an atmosphere of chlorine 
and it comes out sweet. But wait. Observe that it is only the fetid atmo- 
sphere about the meat which was affected ; let this be blown away, and a 
now one takes its place. Let the meat be now dipped in a weak solution 
of carbolic acid and exposed to a current of air. The foul odor is soon 
blows away, and the meat may continue sweet forever. 

Carbolic acid is cheap, and is applicable under circumstances where any- 
thing else would be impracticable or objectionable. Thus it may be dis- 
solved in the water used in sprinkling the streets, and relieve us from that 
peculiar city effluvium which is so noticeable and sickening to those who 
have just come out of the pure air of the country. It may be used in the 
washing of the clothing, bedding, etc., of infected persons. It \s perfectly 
sale to be used in the family. 



as to charring wh.m].* 



PRESERVATION OF WOOD FROM DECAY. 

Correspondence of the Scientific American. 

Messrs. Editors ; — In some respect** I fully agree with your correspondent 

The advantii s of charring a post do not consist, 
as scientific men have supp< d, in the capacity of charcoal to absorb the 
gases from decaying sub-lances. But the application of 1 to such an 
extent as to create char ! on the outside of wood, will dri ut the 
surface moisture and coagulat the albumen of the sap, and i ider it insol- 
uble in water* While this ti iment, as a MMoning process, is of great 

* See Scientific American of Bent 15, 1806. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 43 

benefit, bo one at this day will contend that it is essential to the preserve 

tionofvood. Xeitl Ky;.n, liar ti I' ne, Boucberie, Bethel] nor Rob- 
bine, chaired wood, in order to pre m it. Still, in mv opinion, a 
cei ' ,Jli " eof beat it nee if it be properly applied tnd with it 

and through it vapors may be infeaed into wood, whi. ,11 render it in- 

deetmetible. 

But your oorraepondeni aeaeiiB that the nricrc > reveals the can of • 

decay in wood u doc to panaitcs feeding i i albuminoid -ui and 

he KToinni.nl i sac ihrorsnp let i as a m I'd. roy. 

J' the para me germs or albuminoid which he of 

■rood. Tbia idea mud i .1 impc br i 

Fit • An' the pai e the • of d n wood ? 

1,1 l, " l;, "v w lean to at : , . ,, :i , ; , iot without the proper orj nic 

•"•■■UMOi Instrument- i.> le il todrawil rishmenl dii riy fr. i il 
■norgania i mta, bat m h d r, ot her pli 

which it attaches il f. In entoi ind aoologj tl 

■"•'I U oine in i or minute animal i li m tl, „, 

mmted ■■sittire. Aocordin to Bhrenbei od ol r 
while t mi i ; i u li. . roi im| m i- i un<l< 

petition, it di ! not ipp-ar thai the : j,,-, .., , |(i . 

pretence, ' Wherever oi nic natter < In a i 
U" ', acting ai j in derourinj! in r , ,i nQ i 

Lid deca thou partiele of docomp er which, if left to ■ . . I 

throughout the atmosphere, might be pn a t pern 

1 ■"•> I hi.nl.' rod I,, uwenli I ; also I Ifiel \ , I 

ii i orme," p. 690.) 

Brande, in his • Bncyolopedii It min tl dr, rol .•«! 

b] |. isitej ; on the • ntrarj tin- t .this are applied to 
ompoaition without the ] <se f fungi hei « t 

longafter th< mm oent ■ e di icCintbewt I. \\v doubth - 

mi iffcel for the ran when we t p : the 

d'' i) of rag tbic i 1 annual -ui ne. it vronld 

aerated in and areaprodnet of I .pi f . j 

Uw h\e bul to i .i.-imieaii-l imi|ate the Id render 

the earth and air m suited to the eaienl il. e of heal rod HI! l'.. 

thi^ end, .rdiug tC Bhrenbi the ninlri| the i lfl 

daily. If t parasites! • m 

of the wood was in aM of pufrM 

I. to some extent, 1 he • atiou r or [; 

) areehietlv di liahabl rth 

ommem I. They a tonn I in anii 1 and \ table i n fasiott all 

tlie same have been kept a tticieni time to develop their exi>ter m and 



44 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

through the decomposition of such substances. (Orr's " Circle of the Sciences," 
vol. i. p. 87.) Parasites may, therefore, be regarded as a result, and not as 
the cause of decay in wood. 

Second, Can these parasites be destroyed by the application of heat, as 
proposed ? 

We are assured by the best authorities that the polygastic infusoria are 
| very tenacious of life ; while they are injuriously affected by strong poisoi 

they are capable of enduring great extremes of heat and cold, and are 
found alike beneath the snows of the highest peaks of the Alps, and in the 
hot springs that perpetually boil from the heat of volcanic fires. (Redfield' 
• " Zoological Science.") 

But for the sake of argument let us suppose that the parasites, parasitic 
germs, or albuminoids may be destroyed by heat ; will not the wood, after 
they have been destroyed, be again infested with new and similar formations 
which will be equally destructive? These germs exist in water and in the 
air, as well as in organized substances, and may be readily deposited on the 
surface and in the pores of the wood, even after it has been subjected to 
superheated steam. If vegetable decomposition is due to the presence and 
action of the parasites, heat can protect the wood from their influence no 
longer than it is subjected to the temperature requisite for their destruction. 
A - -oon as it is exposed to air and moisture, at ordinary temperatures, pa- 
rasites may be again developed, and Fery rapidly ; for, according to Ebren- 
berg, the// datina seta increased in twelve days to sixteen millions, and 
• another species in four days to one hundred and venty billions. Besides 

scientific experiments have already fully established the fact that any infu- 
sion of vegetable or animal substance may be boiled for horn-, and if subse- 
quently exposed to the atmosphere, it will soon swarm with myriads of 
microscopic creatures. * By placing tlie wood in an exhausted Driver and 
thus excluding the air and establishing a condition incompntiU- vith the 
laws which determine their existence, this regeneration or re-formation of 

parasia j be prevented. 80 it might be prevented by the continued 
application of heat at the boiling point, or at a sufficiently destructive de- 

gp of temperature. It is very evident that wood which has b 1 treat 1 

with heat only, when no longer under its influence and not proi I I an 
exhausted receiver, may. bj expo-ure to -the oxygen and moisture of the 

atmosphere, be in a short time 1 rered on the mrfac and I, its pores 

filled with infinitesimal germ, and forms of life which may cause it to decay. 

But suppose it is true idat the parasitic germ or albuminoid are co- 

4 ■ ■_ 



-tent with the wood, that they -m- fee < au and not the result of decaj 
the next question of importett how can tin \ bed tmy<-d, and their 



Orr's " Circle of th« Sciences,' rol. ii, p. 217 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. ' 45 

■ 

re-formation and rc-infestmcnt prevented in the cheapest and most effectual 
manner ? 

The application of heat, simply, either in hot air or in superheated steam, 
may destroy them, as your correspondent claims, and it will also coagulate 
the albumen of the sap, etc., but it cannot protect the fiber against the 
effect of oxygen and moisture, nor can it prevent the regeneration or re- 
attachment of the parasites after the wood is again exposed to the air. 
B<-- ides, this treatment will empty the pores to some extent and leave the 
ligneous fiber unprotected. The capillary tubes, being left open and ex- 
hausted of the vital elements of the living tree, will readily take up an 
increased quantity of water. This water will escape by evaporation when 
the wood is exposed to the action of the sun. And by the constant vicis- 
situdes of temperature and the ever-varying degrees of moisture, the elas- 
ticity of the fiber will be diminished, and in time the integrity of the wood 
destroyed. 

Hence it is that the celebrated Dr. Ure, in his Dictionary of the Arte, 
affirms, that " although the albumen contained in the Bap of the wood is the 
most liable and the first, to putrefy, yet the ligneous fiber itself, after it has 
been deprived of all sap, will, when exposed in a warm, damp situation, rot 
and crumble into dust. To preserve wood, therefore, that will be much 
exposed to the weather, it is not only necessary that the sap liould be coag- 
ulated, but that the fibers should be protected Groin moisture." This ne- 
cessity of further protecting the wood from atmospheric influence, after the 
. albumen has been coagulated, becomes greater if, according to the theory 
of your correspondent, decay is caused by parasites, which the atmosphere 
furnishes so abundantly. Now the question recurs, and your correspondent 
has done well in-raising it, What is the best means of driving out the surface 
moisture, of coagulating the albumen, of dcsiroying the parasites, parasitic 
germs, or albuminoids, and of preventing all parasitic influence upon the 

wood thereafter? 

In one of your issues of February I saw a very able article upon the 
process of preserving wood, invented by our American genius, Louis S. 
Bobbins. According to my recollection, he proposes the use of coal tar 
■ and other oleaginous substances in vapor. It eeems tome that th e vapors 
will be found aa hot as hot air or as superheated steam, that they will per- 
meate the wood as readily, and more effectually destroy the parasite fe- 
ns i tic germs, or the albuminoids referred to. . 

Now, coal tar is about thirty per cent creosote — which, as its very name 

imparts, is an antiseptic, that is, preservative against putrefaction and decaj . 
This creosote, in superheated vapor, will permeate the wood thoroughly 
and destroy, not only b it€ heat but by its inherent poison, all the de mo- 
tire parasites and other infusoria, and, at the same time, prevent pntref 

7 






46 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

tioD, and, besides, the wood, being thus saturated with a deadly poison, will 
be protected against any attack from the parasitic infusoria which might 

originate after the treatment. 

Then, by the heavier oils eliminated by distillation, the wood is saturated 
and completely primed, and the fiber is thus protected from the oxygen and 
moisture of the atmosphere, as recommended by Dr. Ure. The ancients 
were accustomed to preserve both vegetable and animal forms and sub- 
stances by a process that rendered them so far imperishable that many of 
them, in spite of parasites, have come down to us in a surprising sfcate of 
preservation. Specimens may be found in museums of Egyptian and other 
antiquities, in which even three thousand years have neither obliterated the 
outlines x>f mortality, nor destroyed the cerements that inclose them. They 
employed bituminous substances in their embalming or preserving process, 
and, as we believe, in the shape of vapor, while others have vainly attemp- 
ted the same results with metallic solutions. Bethell, of England, and 
Louis S. Robbins, the American inventor, are the only two who have re- 
sorted to the application of bituminous substances, Bethell using them in li- 
quid form, while Robbins applies them more effectually in the shape of vapor. 

So far as we are able to judge, the process of Mr. Robbins is the nearest 
approach to the treatment resorted to by the ancients. 

New York, Sept. 20, 1866. 



HOW TO REMEDY THE EVIL. 

From, the Hartford " Daily Times " of June 21, 1867. 

In a congressional debate which occurred last year, on the Canadian 
Trade Bill— the proposed duty on lumber being the special topic— Mr. 
Banks of Massachusetts took occasion to show that, while shelter is the fust 
necessity nf man, the business of building is comparatively suspended in 
New England, owing chiefly to the high prices of lumber. Now, as any 
duty that may be imposed on building materials, imported from Other coun- 
tries and their American dependencies, can only serve to advance prices 
Ji.-re. it follows that the fundamental difficulty can never be obv i a ted by a 

tariff on foreign lumber. 

From a partial examination of the facta in this case we incl I to the 
..pinion, that our neighbors In British America would render us a great and 
lasting service by sending us all their surplus lumber. It is a short ighted 
political economy that would impose any restraints upon its importation. 
\\ -hull soon want supplies from abroad. Our native forests are being 
rapidly swept away, and hitherto no wise measures have \, „ cither adop- 
ted or BUfflrested to BtAV the work of destruction. Have we no profound 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. • 47 

political economists among us ; and are there no philosophical legislators 
in the country, who are competent to look at a great question in the light 
of essential principles and inevitable results? Unless some comprehensive 
measures are speedily adopted to preserve and augment our resources, we 
may as well be prepared for a still further advance in the prices of every 
species of wood that is at all suitable for mechanical purposes. 

It is idle to stop or to embarrass the importation of lumber if we wish to 
reduce the standard of value in our own markets. We might as well blow 
up the foreign coal mines with the expectation of lowering the market value 
of fuel. Every resource that is cut off, no matter by what means, only 
lessens our .supplies while it does nothing to diminish our necessities. Such 

evils as the one complained of by Mr. Banks, require more radical remedh 

and a more rational treatment than is proposed and practiced by the 
cong ssional tinkers of the tariff. 

If the claims put forward by the National Wood Preserving Company 
have a substantial basis in reality, as we are strongly inclined to believe, 
they suggest an easy and satisfactory solution of a difficult question. The 
remedy for the existing evil is at once simple and effectual. If, for the next 
quarter century, we save all the wood used for mechanical purposes from 
the natural process of decay, and from destruction by insects, we shall have 
accomplished a result of the greatest conceivable importance to the whole 

country. If shelter is, indeed, the first necessity of man, it may be that, in 

more senses than one, this may be found at our very doors. 



NEW AND IMPORTANT EXPERIMENTS. 

The National Wood Preserving Company's process has just been subjec- 
ted to some new and interesting tests in New York which prove lis value 
in oth< uses than any that have hitherto been considered. One of the 
most eminent scientific engineers in New York subjected two cnbee of the 

■mie wood, one having been treated by the proa and the other not, to a 
pressure of fifteen tons. On removing the pressure, the cube which had not 
been treated was found to be wholly crushed — the fibres being .ill mor<> or 
h broken, and the integrity of the whole destroyed ; while tfas cube which 
had been treated by the preservative process, exhibit I no other evidence 
of the pressure to which it had been subjected, than a scarcely perceptible 
eompi sion amounting to just one sixty-fourth of an h. 

The importance of the fad here revealed, of the power of wood thus 
treated to resist compression and breakage, is too obvious to require a 

statement It- importance in steamboat-building and railway cars is ap- 
parent. In a collision of steamers, for instance, everything depends, often- 











48 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

times, upon the power of resistance possessed by the wood and timber work. 
The object sought, in developing the discovery covered by the Company's 
patent, was to produce by the anti-septic agents introduced into the pores 
of wood in the form of vapor from the oleaginous substances used, a condi- 
tion of the wood which would enable it successfully to resist the process of 
decay. In other wotos, the only end sought, was to obtain a cheap and 
simple process to preserve the wood ; so that, whether exposed for a century 
to the air and the elements, left under water, or buried in the ground, it 
would alwa} T s be superior to any known metallic appliances for resisting 
decay. But it is found that its value is by no means limited to this result. 
The experiment above referred to, in its relations to ship and car building, 
and to many of the mechanic arts, is too important to be overlooked. 
Hartford Daily Times, July 13, 18G7. 



HOW TO PROCURE IMPERISHABLE COFFINS. 

The question whether there is a more effectual agent to resist the ap- 
proaches of decay than is now furnished in the metallic caskets used for burial 
purposes, is one which possesses direct interest for all of us. The objection 
to the metallic caskets are these : First, they are too expensive. Few 
people in moderate circumstances can afford, after incurring the already 
large necessary cost of a funeral, to add the further item of |75 to £100 for 
a metallic burial case. Again, these metallic cases are by far too heavy. 
And, lastly — and this is perhaps the most serious consideration — they fail 
to resist the destructive corrosion which act- with such well known energy 
upon all metallic substances buried in the earth. A metallic can' will of 
course last much longer than one of common wood ; yet how long can even 
the metal resist the corrosive action of the destructive agencies to which* it 
is exposed ? — Those who have had evasion to remove to BQPM more desirable 
ground the buried remains of a beloved relative after the lapse of fifteen 
or twenty years, must have encountered painful evidence of the perishable 
nature even of the metallic caskets. 

It is known that in coffins made of any wood which has been treated by 
the National Wood Preserving Company's process, an agent far more 
successful in resisting the approaches of decay has 1 c seeared ; and at 
an expen-e, moreover, not more than that of an ordinary coat of paint It 
is demonstrated that wood thus treated- permeated by the vapori/.ed < a« «• 
of the preservative agents employed — will remain mmd and whole, when 
buried in the earth, for a period of at least half a century ; and it is confi- 
dently believed, for even a much Ion r time. And no worm or insect will 
ever attack it. This hag been abundantly proved, by experiment. — Hartford 
Va Times, July 1 ? 1^67. 






ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 
THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION AT PARIS. 



49 



The railroad sleepers on exhibition at Paris illustrate 
the vast importance of the products of coal tar as a means 
of preserving wood from decay. Imperfect as the Euro- 
pean methods of treating wood obviously are, they have 
proved sufficient to preserve it unimpaired for a quarter 
of a century, But it is now conceded that the American 
patent, granted to Louis S. Robbins, covers the most 
simple and effectual process for the elimination of the an- 
tiseptic elements from the tar, and their application to the 

wood in the same process. 

It is further to be observed, that the apparatus employ- 



Wood 



-fifth 



of the machinery required under Mr. Bethell's English 
patent. Nor is this all : the American method is ten-fold 
more rapid and complete. 

In the French section of the exhibition are shown railway sleepers which 
have been in use for several years. One of these sleepers, which was put 
down in March, 1859, and taken up in February, 1867, appeared as sound 
as when first cut. In the English collection is a sleeper from the Great 
Western Railway, which had been down for twenty-one years ; one from 
the Lancashire and Yorkshire line which had been down for nineteen years ; 
and one from the London and Northwestern Railway which had been in 
use for twenty years. These sleepers had been prepared by Mr. J. Bethell's 
process ; they are all perfectly sound, showing that the preservative liquid 
had penetrated perfectly through each sleeper. Samples of timber are also 
shown which have been prepared with creosote, used in the construction of 
the chain pier at Edinburgh, and were perfectly sound, while timber which 
had not been so prepared was reduced to little more than half its original 
section by the effects of water and insects.— Amer. Artisan, May 22, 1867. 

Creosoted Timber.— A creosoted sleeper, put down on the Stockton and 
Darlington Railway, in England, in August, 1841, was taken up March 14, 
1867, after nearly 25 years' service. The grain of the wood, although 
slightly discolored by creosote, is as fresh, and apparently as tough as that 
of newly sawed timber, and the odor of creosote is as strong as if the wood 
had just been operated upon. — Tribune. 







I 






50 ART OP PRESERVING WOOD. 



BOBBINS' LEVEE PATENT. 

RTVER EMBANKMENTS. MISSISSIPPI LEVEES, RECLAMATION OF 

SWAMPS AND OVERFLOWED LANDS, DYEING, DRAINING, ETC. 

The rich lands, in the lower Mississippi valley, bordering 
on the river, by a proper levee system will yield untold 
wealth to the individual proprietors, and also to the na- 
tion. There are also swamp and overflowed lands, in the 
American bottom opposite St. Louis, in the New Jersey 
swamps opposite New York, and in various portions of 
this great country, which by being properly dyked, and 
drained, can be thoroughly reclaimed, and be made im- 
mensely valuable. 

Heretofore much has been done in the way of utilizing 
the sugar and cotton lands in the South, by the employ- 
ment of embankments of earth, to prevent their overflow. 
The levees have been built, at great expense, of earth 
alone, which is composed of sand and loam, and hence 
very alluvial, and hence also very unreliable. The new, 
or green levee, not having settled, and acquired solidity 
by cohesion, is very often swept away by the first rise in 

the river. 

The old levee, which in time has become firm, where it 
is highest, and has the greatest service to perform, is very 
often perforated, and honeycombed by the crawfish, and 
in some cases, by muskrats. And experience has shown, 
that wherever the water is allowed to pass the embank- 
ment either through the crawfish or muskrat holes, or by 
overflow, a crevasse is made and the whole country over- 
flowed for miles. In this region stone might be employed 
to good purpose, but it cannot be had. Neither stone, 
gravel, nor coarse sand, is to be found on the alluvial banks 
of the lower Mississipjji But along the whole valley, there 






'. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 51 

is plenty of wood, an abundance of cypress, and other 
timber. But heretofore there has not been any applica- 
tion of wood to levee purposes, there has been no well di- 
gested plan for its use. 

Lately, however, Mr. Louis S. Eobbins, the inventor of 
New York, obtained a patent for the application of wood, 
in combination with earth, in the construction of levees. 

He takes planks, (which are of course to be treated by 
his preservative process,) of the requisite length, two or 
three inches thick, and sharpened at one end. They are 
fitted to each other by a convex and concave edge. By 
means of a very ingenious guide, and a movable cap, lie 
is able to drive these planks into the earth, in sections, all 
in line, and as well pointed, as it" tongued and groved, 
when driven down to the required depth, the planks are 
fastened together at the top by a lateral brace which will 
hold them together, the earth is then thrown up against 
them from the inside, next the plantation. With this 
water-tight barrier in front, the water cannot displace the 
fresh and unsettled deposit of earth. Nor can the levee, 
thus constructed, be perforated by crawfish or musk rats, 
hence no crevasse from the inroads of these pests. In 
case of overflow, the water will fall over the wooden struc- 
ture, as over a milldam, without wearing it away by wash- 
ing, and thus causing a crevasse. 

By the use of wood, in the same way, sivamp and over- 
flowed lands can be reclaimed. 

. Thus: Drive down the planks of timbers in sections, 
and jointed as stated above, pump out the water from the 
land to be drained. Then throw up the loam on the in- 
side of the wooden dyke, and the overflow or seeping from 
ocean or river cannot again interfere with the cultivation 
of the territory thus protected. 






52 ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

The planks used in Dyking, or Lewuntj, whether of cy- 
press cotton \\ ood, or of any other kind of timber, must 
l>e treated bv the Preservative Procem. invented by said 
Bobbins and now owned by the National Patent Wood 
Preserving Company. 

By this process, which is the use of coal tar, wood tar. 
and othei •oleaginous substances and compounds in vapour 
the surface moisture will be driven from the plunks, the 

albumen eoagulal 1, they will be infused with creosote, 

which will prevent putrifaction, (Dry rot. | and then the 

fibre will be perfectly saturated with, the vapour of oil, 

which will not only i:i\t- it Strength, but thoroughly pro- 
tod ii loan the action of moisture Plank- made of any 

mi of timber can thus be made to last u- centuries. 

Persons who have had years of experience in 

building levees m the South, give ii a- their opinion, that 

bv the combination of timber and earth, as proposed by 

Mr. Robbing, more effective levees can be built at one hah 
1. bs expense, than the old earthem le\ es e<»st. 




llo\V T<> olb (.1 N STOCKS 

Bi reference to the article on American Forests, page 

nineteen, it will be per- ived that durin the tint and 

v. midyears of the late rebellion : ingle European manu- 
facturer of ins u^-<l no less than 2 000 bl. k -walnut 

n- -in iippl> gun-stuel fofrthe Amerieau markci. Tins 

fact but imperii '<-il\ mi is the immensi consumptiqn 

, 1 m 1 for this pmjM and ih<- \asi number of in- 

,l annually required t" supply the demands of all 

nations. 

At pi nt.iiun-sf ;k* tie all oil I b\ th< -.\\ met In 
f hand labor. This <jiin much time and invoh 



* 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 53 

heavy expense ; but this labor may be nearly all saved by 
adopting the Robbins process, which, at the same time, 
hardens and beautifies the wood and renders it less liable 
to crack and break. Three thousand gun-stocks or more 
may at once be placed in a chamber, and one common la- 
borer, employed to tend the apparatus, will thus oil the 
whole of them in three hours, and in the most effectual 
manner. 



PORTABLE APPARATUS. 

The machinery employed by Mr. Robbins is inexpen- 
sive, as compared with that used by Mr. Bethell of Eng- 
land, and also in the comparison with the apparatus em- 
ployed in treating wood'with mineral solutions. The con- 
struction of the apparatus recommended by Mr. Robbins 
is also simple and portable ; while the machinery used by 
others is large, complicated and expensive, that constructed 
by Mr. R. may be easily mounted on trucks, and run over 
the entire length of a railroad ; and, consequently, the 
heavy labor, and expense of transporting ties and other 
lumber from place to place, may be avoided. 



<s 



5-i 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD 



FROM THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 



THE ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 

Wood is an article of prime necessity and stands foremost in its connection 
with everv conceivable interest within the range of civilization. Millions of 
men and unlimited capital are daily employed in converting wood and lumber 
to the innumerable and necessary uses required for human comfort. So great 
is the demand for lumber in the progress of the arts and civilization, that our 
native forests, which so recently covered nearly the whole of the Eastern and 
Middle States, have been brought into requisition and removed, except small 
portions at great distances from market or situated in almost inaccessible lo- 
calities. The increase of our population and the improvements in the arts, 
generally, have been so rapid, that even now it is a serious problem as to 
where we are to obtain our future supply of wood and lumber. 

Notwithstanding wood is so intimately and extensively connected with all 
the various interests of human progress, and the vast and unlimited means de- 
voted to its conversion from its condition in the forest to its ultimate uses, it 
cannot have escaped, even the most casual observer, that it is, nevertheless, an 
article subject to rapid and useless decay. It is a no less important fact that 
wood occupies a place that cannot be supplied by all the other resources of 
nature aided by human invention. 

It now becomes a matter for serious inquiry whether we cannot accelerate 
the growth of wood or preserve it from decay. Indeed, this has long been a 
subject of most earnest inquiry and deep concern in countries of an older civi- 
lization than our own; and within the last thirty years the inventive genius of 
man has been taxed to devise means by which so desirable a result could be 
obtained as the preservation of wood. In view of the immense expenditure of 
time and capital, devoted to fashioning and adapting wood to the various 
forms and uses required, it is obvious that no greater achievement can be made 
in the useful arts than the effectual preservation of wood from decay, and the 
saving of the vast annual expenditure required in removing the things which 
the elements have destroyed, and in supplying new materials and structures 
in their place. 

Out of the great number of inventions and patents made and obtained for 
this purpose, one invention — that for which Bethell obtained Letters Patent in 
England in 1838 — has demonstrated the fact, that by the use of oleaginous com- 
pounds, obtained from the distillation of coal tar, properly applied, wood can 
be preserved for an indefinite length of time. 

The following named inventions and patents, made and granted in Europe, 
are referred to for the purpose of showing some of the means which have been 
resorted to — without substantial success — to obtain this desirable result ; and 
also to afford such information to the public as will guard it against any ex- 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 55 



* 



penditure of means with a view to the introduction of such processes in this 
country. 

Kyan's process for preserving wood was the first to attract general attention. 
It was introduced in 1832, and subsequently patented in this country. The 
process consists in saturating the wood with a dilute solution of corrosive sub- 
limate. This method, always too expensive to admit of general application, 
has been wholly abandoned in this country. 

In 1837, one Margary obtained a patent in England for preserving timber 
by immersing it in a solution of acetate or sulphate of copper. After being 
thoroughly tested in England this process has gradually yielded to other 
processes. 

In 1838, Sir William Burnett's process was patented, and since that time 
Burnettizing wood has been practiced in Europe and America. In this pro- 
cess the wood is saturated with a concentrated solution of the chloride of zinc. 
While Kyan's discovery failed of being widely adopted, from the fact that the 
material employed was too expensive to admit of being generally used, Bur- 
nett's process, for a similar reason, has only been employed to a limited extent. 

Payne's process was patented in England in 18 U. He employed two solu- 
tions, successively, which naturally decomposed each other, forming an inso- 
luble substance in the pores of the wood. The earthy or metallic solution is 
first introduced into the timber, under pressure; after which the solution is 
drawn off and the decomposing fluid forced in. Sulphate of iron and carbonate 
of soda are said to form the insoluble compound in the pores of the wood. This 
pmeess has been tried in England and thre country, and has met with some 
favor in France. 

Dr. Boucherie, a distinguished French chemist, invented a process for pr 
serving wood, and for which he procured a patent. It is claimed that this 
process accomplishes two objects: — First, it expels the p ; and secondly, it 
fills the pores of the timber with a preservative solution. The fluid that is al- 
lei I to preserve the wood is so introduced by pressure that it "pas s longi- 
tudinally along the fibers," thus expelling the sap and occupying its place The 
claims of this process are being urged in this country under the false pretence 

that it is a new discovery. 

Ilet hell — by his process patented in England in 1338 — rendered wood more 
imperishable by the use of a cheaper material; but his m:ieliiuery was unn es- 

sarily complicated, and his method of conducting the process quite imperfect 

and too expensive to admit of general application. We extract the following 
partial description of BethelFs process from a small treatise on the art of pre- 
serving wood, published in this country in 1859: 

^ It e.msists in impregnating the timber with an oily matter obtained from 

a rough distillation from coal tar. This oily matter contains a variety of sub- 
stances, having different chemieal properti. ; one of the essential ingredients 
for this purpose is said to be eivosote, which forma, as estimated, about thirty 
pei- cent, of the product of distillation used for this purpose. The other in- 






w 



56 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 









gradients have a no less important effect. The oily matter is injected into the 
timber by pressure in closed vessels, from which the air is first partially 

exhausted." 

The subjoined letter from Dr. Dwinelle, who personally witnessed what lie 
describes, is sufficiently explicit, in respect to Bethell's machinery and process. 

« Loots S. Robbins ,— Dear Sir : I cheerfully comply with your request to 
give you such information as I obtained in Europe, several years ago, in regard 
to the use of coal tar and its products as a means of preserving wood. 

"In 1852, while investigating different matters of public interest in London, 
I was invited by Mr. Burt to visit his extensive works on the Surrey side of 
the Thames, where he had, for several years, been treating— for the English 
and India markets— large quantities of wood with products of coal tar, accord- 
ing to a process patented by Mr. Bethell in 1838. 

"His process consisted in placing the wood or lumber in a large iron cylin- 
r - - - When 



der, constructed expressly for the purpose, and made very strong, 
these cylinders were sufficiently charged with wood— it being carried into 
them on cars constructed for the purpose— the ends were closed in such a man- 
ner as to render them perfectly tight, the air and moisture were then exhausted, 
as nearly as possible, by air pumps attached to the apparatus for that purpose, 
Then other pumps were employed to force the liquid product, that had been 
obtained by distillation of coal tar, into the cylinders, which was continued 
until a pressure of 150 lbs. to the inch Avas reached. After a certain time bad 
elapsed, the wood was taken out of the cylinders and placed in a suitable po- 
rtion for drying, when it was ready for use. 

"The machinery employed for these operations was both complicated and 
expensive, and so imperfect, in respect to its capacity to produce the result 
desired, that a large amount of time was required to saturate the wood to any 
considerable extent, or in a degree sufficient for the purpose of its p r ie rv ation. 
This method, however, was considered the best then known, and had been 
]. roved to be a success for many years, by the practical use of the wood thus 

treated. 

"Bethell*! process seemed to be very objectionable, not only because it r< 
quired much time and labor, but also for the reason that it was only suited t 
the treatment of lumber to be used for the most ordinary purposes, sueh as 
railroad sleepers, piles for wharves, bridges, etc., eta 

" I have carefully examined your patented process. It appears to he simple, 
rapid and in nsive, and much more perfect in its results than Bethell**, in- 
asmneli as the hot oleaginous vapors arising from the distillation of the coal 
tar must, under the circumstances, permeate every portion of the wood or lum- 
bei to any extent required. 

"Your process is open to none of the objections urged against Bethell'f 
plan, since, by its use, wood may be rapidly and properly treated for ;il 1 the 
> us uses to which wood is applied in the mechanic arts. Moreover, the 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 57 

fact that you use the same material leaves no doubt as to the success of you* 
patent, it having long since been practically established in Europe, that the 
products obtained from the distillation of coal tar, if properly applied to wood, 
will preserve it for a great length of time from decay, and also from destruc- 
tion by marine and other insects. Truly yours, 

«Wm. H. Dwinelle, M. D., No. 119 Tenth Street, New York." 



The 



the uniform results of its application, that scientific meu in hurope, ana c*,pe- 
, hilly the most - Anguished engineers in England, have come to entertain 
but one opinion of its merits. It can hardly be necessary to multiply authori- 
ties b this connection, since the following emphatic testimony— extracted from 
Dr. Andrew Ure's "Dictionary of the Arts," must satisfy the most skeptical 
reader. Treating of the results of Bethell's process he says :— 

"The effect produced is that of perfectly coagulating the albumen in the 
sap, thus preventing its putrefaction. For the weod that will be much ex, - 
ed to the weather, and alternately wet and dry, the mere coagulation of the 
sap is not sufficient ; for although the albumen contained in the ip of the wood 
is the most liable and the first to putrify, yet the ligneous fibre itself, after it 
has been deprived of all sap, will, when exposed in a warm, damp situation, 
rot and crumble into dust. To preserve wood, therefore, that will be 
much exposed to the weather it is not only nee, ary that the sap should be 
coagulated, but that the fibres should be protected from moisture, which is 

effectually done by this process. 

"The atmospheric action on wood thus prepared renders it tOOgher, and in- 
finitely stronger. A post made of beech, or even of Scotch fir, is rendered 
more durable, and as strong as one made of the best oak, the bituminous mix- 
ture with which all its pores are filled acting as a cement to bind the nbres 
toother in a close tough mass; and the more porous the woo is, the more 
anrable and tough it becomes, as it imbibes a greater quantity of the bitumin- 
ous oil, which is proved by its increased weight. The materials which are in- 
jected preserve iron and other metals from corrosion ; and an iron bolt driven 
into wood so saturated, remains perfectly sound and free from rust. It also 
resists the attack of insects; and it has been proved by Mr. Pritchard, at 
Shoreham Harbor, that the teredo wnwfe, or naval worm, will not touch it. 

"Wood thus prepared for sleepers, piles, posts, fencing, etc., is not at all 
affected by alternate exposure to wet and dry; it requires no painting, and 
after it has been exposed to the air for some days it loses every unple; ml 

smell. , . 

" This process has been adopted by the following eminent engine, rs v./.. : 
Mr Robert Stephenson, Mr. Brunell, Mr. Bidder, Mr. Brathwaite, Mr. 1 
Mr. Harris, Mr. Wickstead, Mr. Pritchard, and others; and has 1 n n« I 
with the greatest success on the Great Western Railway, the Bristol and Ex- 
eter Hail way, the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, the North Easten 



* 






5^ 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 






it 



the South Eastern, the Stockton and Darlington, and at Shoreham Harhor ; 
and lately, in consequence of the excellent appearance of the prepared sleepers, 
after three years' exposure to the weather, an order has been issued by Mr. 
Robert Stephenson that the sleepers hereafter to be used on the London and 
Birmingham Railway are to be prepared with it before being put down. 
. • • • : 

" For railway sleepers it is highly useful, as the commonest Scotch fir sleeper, 
when thus prepared, will last for centuries. Those which have been in use 
three years and upward, look much better now than when first laid down, 
having become harder, more consolidated, and perfectly water-proof; which 
qualities, combined with that of perfectly resisting the worm, render this pro- 
cess eminently useful for piles, and all other woodwork placed under water." 

It is stated by the best authorities, and confirmed by ordinary experience 
and observation, that the decay of wood is due to the action of oxygen and 
moisture ; and we find that in proportion as it is excluded from these destruc- 
tive agents it retains its durable and substantial qualities. It would seem 
i lint the direct effect of these elements is to remove the antiseptic principles of 
Hie wood, and afterward to permeate its substance with moisture, thus soften- 
ing its fibrous portions and producing mold or decay. 

From this brief statement it will be obvious that to preserve wood it must, 
in some way, be protected from the action and influence of these decomposiu 
agents. In its growing state, wood has all the elements of self-preservation ; 
and, if undisturbed, it will continue to live and grow without decay during 
the natural period of its development. When a limb is broken, the bark i ■« 
moved, or an abrasion made, so as to expose the circulating fluids to the ad ion 
of the elements, then decay commences — thi (act is patent to all observers. 

All growing wood has an oleaginous covering, which protects the fluids 
from the elements but when woo 1 is cut down and the oily supply for the sur- 
face can no longer be obtained from the soil, artificial means must then be 
employed that will fully protect the wood from the influence of oxygen and 
moisture. Oleaginous compour , such as are obtained from the distillali 
of coal tar and similar substances, are adapted to this purj ■ ; and they OM 
be applied to wood in such a manner is to preserve it for an indefinite period. 
This is what is accomplished by Mr. Bobbins' patent. 1 process In r d< - 

scribed. The oily products obtained from the distillation of bituminous sul«- 
stan ire not decomp I and destroyed by the action of oxygen and moist- 
ure at ordinary temperatures. Hence, when they are p ro pe r t y epplii d to wood 
they must protect and preserve it. 

It appears to have en the leading idea with all the European inventors, 
if we except Bethell, to deprive wood of some of its important constituents 
ind • - ti' ial properties, or to otherwi. Iian them by Blical action. In 
this, they not only disregarded the common experience of all ages, but they 
were at war with Nature. The common mistake among them consisted in at- 
tempting to produce a condition of wood that is wholly unlike its living state, 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 59 

| instead of restoring to it what had been lost by time and exposure to the 

^ elements. Moreover, while the materials used actually destroyed the native 

integrity of the wood, they were of far too costly a nature to admit of gene- 
ral application. For these reasons the several processes of Kyan, Margary, 
Burnett, Payne and Boucherie, will ultimately be regarded as failures, practi- 
cally and in every cs itial sense. 

Very different will be the public verdict respecting the claims of BethelPs 
discovery. How far he really comprehended, or even perceived the principles 
which the subject involves, we may not be able to determine; nor is this im- 
portant in estimating the value of what he accomplished. It is manifest that 
his course of experiment was in the right direction. He sought to preserve, 
by artificial means, the vitality of Nature— to prevent the loss of those const it- 

aents and properties which arc essential to wood ia its normal and undeeaying 
state. To bun belongs the credit of originality, and of furnishing the potent 
pa ion which has enabled Mr. Bobbins to complete a discovery * eond to 

,„ dent in the useful arts, in the universality of Hs application, and in 

the coi iquent magnitude of its practical results. 

Hitherto we have di covered nothing that will so effectually r t moisture 

as oil. It is act only a demonstrated fact in science, but it has become a pro- 

> verb e\ erywhere, that oil and water have no affinity— that tl J will not unite. 

While water finds its way through the closest animal tissues and into the 

hardest wood, and, by mechanical pressure, may even be faced through the 
solid metals, this antagonism between oil and water ia wives d and irredsti 
1 _ This. the immense value of oil in the preparation of all durable 

i . and manufactures of wood that are required to be impervious to moid 

ui In all civilized countries, and back through (he entire bistorio period of 
the world, men have acted on this su. fcionj in ti preparation of the skins 

of an'n Is for shoes and for other purposes ; in the manu are of various 
OUtsidi rments; in painting their di llingS, ships, fences, furniture, ami all 
the other superstructures of wood, these are rendered durable by the proper 
application of oil, and in proportion as the oil so appli I is of a nature suited 
to endure the action and influence of oxj n and moisture. 

The i aide and animal oils differ essentially in their constituents from 
the oleaginous compounds derived from bituminous substances. The differ- 
ence in their inherent capacity to resist moisture is equally marked and no less 
,1 srving of notice. The exposure of the former to the action of th ments 
gradually diminishes this power of resistance. H i brings the o lie ods to 
the ce of whatever they are applied to, and some of them arc I n dissi- 

pated so that they no longer afford a sure protection. But it is not so with 
the products of coal tar, or with the bituminous oils. These, instead of be.n 
d dpat.-d in part, or otherwise impaired by the ordinary changes of tempera- 
1m and the varying decrees of moisture, become resinous from exposure, and 
hence the' substances to which they are applied become harder and more dura- 
ble by time. It is the unqualified testimony of Dr. Ure that railroad sleepers. 




30 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



that had been in use for more than three years, " looked much better than 

when first laid down." 
At the time we write corrosive sublimate is worth one hundred and thirty- 

five dollars per one hundred pounds, while chloride of zinc is still more expen- 
sive. The preparation of railroad ties, by the use of such materials — if \vt 
allow one pound to a single tie — would cost not less than one dollar and a 
half each, while the cost of a far more effectual treatment, by the product 
of coal tar, would scarcely exceed ten cents. In the treati nt of railroad 
ties and the timber for bridges and wharves, acids and alkalies an- especi 
ally bbjection&ble because they corrode the iron bolts and spikes, and thus 

impair and ultimately destroy the wood with which they are in contact If 

Copper nails and sheets be employed, as in covering the hulls of v la, the 
rosion must be more rapid when such substances have been employed in the 

preparation of wood. On the contrary, oil prevents this < ■••rrosion of the 

metals, and in this respect it contributes essentially to the inh< rent durability 
of any structure that may be made of such composite matt rials. 






SPECIFICATIONS OF THE ROBlilNS PATIENT. 

To All Wham it may Concern : — Y» it known, lh:it I, Louil BL Itobhins, of the 

City, County and Bute of New York, ha ini I a new and Lmproi I 

process for ] n ing wood f\ a mold or decay ; a I do h d e that 

th« 1 lowing is :» full, Hear an 1 M I description thereof, wl h will friable 
skilled in the art to iaak and use the same, special reference being had 
to the accompanying drawings, forming part of thill] 'ion* 

Itisa il-known t, thai * I, when out do t t l i septrafc I from tho 
r to which snppl j it n b its anti* ptioa, immeflii ly be< es aflbcted ii 

■ |.osure to the heat and th- TO c£ the atmosjih ; tk timer ofwl h 

rapidly dissipates the flui or Bap of the wood, wbih th« latt egiiates the 

Voody fibres with i stances which the wood, while growing, bj it isep- 

ti« ti rely excluded. These alternate act upon the wood gra all 1 

finally cause it to dec: To prevent this • iy I is f tl lie 

f the j enfl invention, and this ol t is s iplishc- I * . Th 

1 c sts in subjecting the \ od to a preeer epi "-ess wl h 

etained within the SSnn . and f<>r those loet, 

willpn their furt waste; at the BUM 

mch a con >n v : h the fibres < ' th 



•1 all of its ant'iM pt 

g such Mibetaii 

mc losing the pores and form g 

il eflbrtually pr the dete rating effects of either heat or 

moisture at ordinary tc eraturea, or of both upon n% as hereinbefore 

alluded to. 

Ma processes have been heretofore invent- d for the preeerrati f wood, 

some of uhich v e entirely imprac ib while others w r ere only partially 

suc c ess f ul ; but by none could the wood be sufficiently impregnated or satu- 



1 



AET OF PRESERVING WOOD. 61 

rated with the preservative compound, to insure its preservation for a great 
length of lime, owing to the manner in which the same was applied to the 

wood. 

i 

One form of apparatus for carrying out my improved process is represented 
in i accompanying plate. A, in the drawing, represents a retort, made of 
B desired form or size, in which coal tar, resin, or oleaginous substances or 
compi ils are phv I, and subjected to the action of heat from any suitable 
fun I! represents the man-hole in the upper portion of the retort, used in 

el. i the or in changing its contents. CC,:i pipe communicating 

wiili retort A, at or near its top, passing to, and communicating with, pham- 
beri or receptacles, D. E represents the discharge pipe, employed for remov- 
ing the remaining contents after the operation is over. 

Heal being applied to retort A, containing the c d tar, etc., as describe, 1, 

oleaginous vap I are generated therein, which pass out of he same through 

the connecting pipe, < (', into the wood chamh ^, I), or into only one of the 
same as may be desired. The heat thus applied first causes the surface moist- 
ure of the WOOCl to he removed I herefrom, taking the form of Steam and con- 
densing on the sides of said chamber, from which it is drawn off through pipes, 
11, which may be placed in or Dear the bottom, 

Baving thus removed the surface moisture from the wood, 1 then thoroughly 

Impregnate and saturate it thro gh all its por and fibi by the oleaginous 

x ion and heavier products of th< distillation, tmtil it is made imperrioue to 

mo ore, and so as to entirely resist the action of the atmosphere, when it may 

be removed from the chamb< > D, through the doors, M M ; when the cbam- 

bei ire again to be charged with wood, and so on ng m may be d< I. 

In the operation of my process, a tempc tars of I m 212 deg. to 250 deg. 

i Fahrenheit is sufficient to remove the surface moisture from the wood; but to 

I h i urate the - .me with oleaginous vapors and other pr ducts, it is b t that 

the temperature should be raised to 300 d rees Fahrenheit, ox higher if m 

cessary. 

Prom the above description, it is apparent that, by my process, I am I ibled 

t,, more completely saturate the wood with the pre vat ive compound than 
has b Q, or can be done by any of the process* hen .fore in use; for tin 
reason that I cause the preservative compound to permeate the pores and lib. 
of the wood, in a vaporised state, while in the others it is made to enter in a 
In, 1 state; and it is also evident that it is accomplished in an economical, 
expeditions, effective and practical manner. 

I do not intend to limit myself to any particular form of apparatus ; nor do I 
Intend to limit myself to the removing of the surface moisture from the v I 
by means of oleaginous vapors, as herein d- ril 1, as here are rious W 
,..' wl h the same can be accomplished n ith the nM of heat. But what I d 
cl in as n.w, and desire to secure by Let' rs Pat r, is: 

pi » herein described for i serving wood from mold or do 

same consisting in first removing the BUI .-moisture from the wood, and theu 

9 



7* -4 



*.<■. ' 'V I 



/ 






62 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD 



charging and saturating the same with hot oleaginous vapors and compounds, 

substantially as described. .^ 

Also removing the surface moisture from the wood by means of hot olcagi- 



uous V 



apors, substantially as herein described- 



Louis S. Robbins. 



Witnesses: 

ML M. LlVDJG6T0N, 

Albert W. Brown. 
It will be perceived, from an examination of the foregoing specification, that 
Mr Robbins' method of treating wood possesses great advantagea over even 
tint of Bethell. Indeed, it will be obvious, on a moment's renY-eix*, that Ins 
proeeei must be far more rapid and complete. For while lielhell employed 
his oleaginous compounds in a liquid state. Bobbins u - the same materia s m 
t form of vapor, in which condition tb; , sublimated to :i dogr< <• which 

, hundred times finer than they are in the stair in winch Bethell 
mployed Hi. , and, of consequence, so much the more pen. trat.ng. In tin 

state of extreme ittonnatkm, the elements *hkb preserve the wodw «o« 

d y Jmitted— the Capillary action being greatly l -derated ami inadi ««• 
th » )lv ,, lt etl,.ntu. structure of tl, VOO& At the aan>- time ih 

hot vapor opens the pores and < adi the w Lao thai a larger quantity ol 

,! u compound ij admitted. The pores being thus tilled, the contra- ... 

bich naturally results from the moling process, seal* them, .1 ]•« ibl<-, in a 
,,-,11 ,reetr. lal .d lastii man.,,. The vast onp.rioriiy of the Kol tne 

pro as ■n.pared With thftl Of Hethell, Otfl Onlj I orly . .al.-d I. 

,1, boreal! Umimmei ; e betvwn •» ol urn* 

and steam in 1 «rreU( i* to obemieal actionaadmocl force. 

But v add fail in ir atl Apt to i up I the lull valm oi 'his 

im] ,,„.,! k other important < "tions. ItUtohn 

obi 1 thai this procem renlers 1 lit and porous v. I 

as il- fine* -rah I timber, and pi r ' '*»>' ' ' '" :,n " ' 1|! >' 

., urp0i es in 1 l •* I» " lmit ° r :i T"'" 1 "" wI n,Ml " "" 

por< in 1 may n..t W made to last ran Ion-. • .tie M), la leant 

Mi ,h:,t it abaorbt a greater quant ity<.f the n.ai. il win- ts 

I rvation is made to «1 end. 

. treated by thn B '.bins process .-quires no \ •»»"''•« 

,„. t from "the ordinary act ioo of the elements. Painl la, the 
, wl , i r. tnl parnoean; nod even then 
required I 11 the poroi i* eared when th. ood haa been j .sly i 

r this rneih-l. and tl.ih in-will.h-ai- <vei U stoftnom 

ual ' ment under tin pal 



s<di<l and durable 






...ttil 




that th 



MWoim 



It i moreover, ira; rtani to o 

mort effectually ; miM in-much M it th r Ij |. U* inn 

of i .rture, it* follows that wood w ].repand U n< liter lubli to •w-ll,r%liri 

warn nor crack. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



3 



A just estimate of this lust and most perfect proci r preferring wood 
might suffice to startle every thoughtful man in th< u inity. Experient 
pnjvi that to ensure the traveling public -t accidents, n ilti ; from 

decay I railroad sleeper^ the whole shouM be rem 1 at least once iu five 

earn The pn nt c>st in the Middh s is seventy-tive cents each; and 

i* irill be safe to assume the average price to be fifty i its throughout th 

entire country. All ti j oenta each to this, as the probable cost of removing 

1 1 old sl< per§| putting down tl -w, ami placing the uls, and it will be 

i.i I that er . ne » leeper that u supplied involves an expense, in 

iti ii il ;m«l labor, of one dollar. As r ulr i d t ai placed at an average 
t li j of about two fe it follows that >o an* required in a single mi] 

Hi • > it about twenty-fl hundred dollan ) per mile t<> remoi 

tin- old sleeper and lay down the new on Asther< fifty-tl id mil* 

■f nil | kl in the United States, it will appear that $1 >■>,» ) at 

demanded to support tie nils ol II the roads in th< country, 

Tii ti indicate tl enormoui exp °f a single i tewal tl 

Mleep- of all our railroads, 1' isrew dono in ti years, the inevitable 
i i in the next twenty-five years, of the ae* fciei for the roads ah m- 

StrUCted will amount to 8 i/N f>0 of dollan ! NOW, it bei demonstrated 

that sleep rs, prepared by t process already • !■■ ed, will list a <iuartei of 
a century, the conclusion is inevitable, tl it the uni\ -al ippl'u n of tl 
I ibins process, to the ties of all out roads, irould invoh svi 5 — after 

deducting th( oostoft ir pr< t under the] • nt — ot I 0,00 

I dollars. More rer, if the progress of the m of d r«>ail u- 

the \t twenty-five years, should continue to b< tin 1 it ras during the 
six j 1 next preceding the late n m •» miles per aura , tl laving 
of monej in railroad ties, and in the laborof laying tli 1 down, would not 

fill much short of 700,000,000 of dollars I 

But the mpl ntrast beta m the Bel 11 and the Bobbins processes 

requires the p* entation of another importani 1 ature, The 1 l propari l 

by Bethell isonlj tit, for timber that wafl fashioned and adapt I to the rudest 
forms and n . sieh railroad ties, the pil >r brid whar , i'<a 

the 1 son that the surface was left rove 1 with the grosser prodc 1 ot il 
tar. Bui as the 1 Ibini pn >s applies tli in the form of ¥ or, tl. 

V nl is 1 el n; :ind alter a few hours' exposure to the air, it is I be 

bandied and ed for ly purpose in which elegant workmanship is required 
Aparl from mere pee m eon -rations, tin preparation of railroad timber 

bj 1 il imment y is s pwtS B t as a means of 8 V larj number 

of rai ! ; atS OOCur in this entry from the rapid decay f the sir. p- 

...: urse, unequal, me of the ties rotting an d ,'mngway,w le 
other main in a sound state. This cause* B oscillating and irregular 1 tie 

of t! whieh met imes throws the train off the track; it also occasions 

an 11 |ual pressure on the rails, which are liable to break. The violent mo- 
tion resulting from the neven surt'i • the -ack, causes unequal fr in. 






6-i 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 









and an undue strain on the axles, and on the flanges of the wheels, the break- 
ing of which constitutes another prolific source of railroad disasters.* 

The direct loss to our railroad corporations, in the destruction of property 
by such accidents, is very heavy ; but it would be quite impossible to compute 
the still greater loss that is indirectly sustained. The fact cannot be disguised 
that the seeming indifference of railroad companies to the public safety has 
the effect to greatly diminish the travel. Multitudes who would make fre- 
quent excursions for pleasure but for a feeliug of insecurity, now only venture 
from home when the pursuits of business or other circumstances imperatively 
demand it. Beside, if the distance be short, mauy persons use a conveyance 
of thei r own, when they might travel by rail at less expense of both time and 
money. It is a false economy that refuses to accept and apply a great 
improvement when once it is demonstrated to exist ; and our railroad directors, 
must be made to feel that it is even criminal to disregard such a discovery 
when it is known that the public safety demands its immediate adoption. 

We have only estimated the value of Mr. Robbins' process for preserving 
wood in its relation to a single use. And yet, wood is the chief material 
employed in the world's navies and merchant marine ; in the construction of 
our dwellings, workshops, warehouses, carriages, fences, agricultural imple- 
ments, and household furniture. The millions require it in fashioning the 
implements of toil ; three-fourths of the products of the earth, and of all 
human industry, are inclosed in wood for preservation or transportation ; the 
masses, in all countries, warm their dwellings and cook their food by its com- 
bustion, and the whole vast commerce of the world still rides on every ocean 

and sea in vehicles of wood. 

The new process is equally applicable to wood in all its uses except for fuel. 
But we have no data from which a reliable estimate can be made of the 
innman ooTrinn- w>iif>h wfmin 1 result from its universal adoption. 



THE SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION ON WOOD PRESERVING. 



S. B. Brittan, M. D., member of the New York Association for the Advancement of Scienoe 
and Art, some time since read a carefully prepared paper, on the History and Philosophy of 
Preserving Wood, before the Engineering Section of that body. The following is an extract 
from Dr. Brittan's paper, which appeared, in cxtenso, in one of the daily journals : 

There are several processes, natural and artificial, whereby wood— at least 
the insoluble portion of the same— may be preserved for an indefinite period. 
When the oily and resinous matter, and all the volatile products of wood are 

^^^^^^^ | - — — ™^ 

* The great destruction of life by railroads io this country is rapidly becoming a cause of national 
reproach. It is well known that railroad accidents are far less numerous in Europe than in this 
country. Nor is the comparative infrequency of such disasters in England, France and Germany, 
altogether attributable to the superior construction of their railroads. It is due in n<> small decree to 
the fact that their railroad ties are subjected to some process which renders them less liable to decay. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 65 

removed by a slow combustion, the carbon remains in the form of charcoal. 
This ii a very poor conductor of heat, and a powerful antiseptic ; posure to 
air and moisture does not materially change its condition ; and hence it wiD 
no, ,1, • Carbon in this form is well nigh imperishable, except by eoml s- 

tion ; while in the pure, crystalline state, it can only hi 1 royed by th- kpph- 
tion Of heat sufficiently intense to co ume the diamond. Piles posts and 
stakes are often charred on the surt e to preserve th. -in from d iy. M o 
who follow the sea likewise char she outside of saakl and tanks b which 
m ims the water ontaine 1 fan tl D is kept cool and pun- dnrin ig voj 

i„ tropical regions. Whenever— by other ... * than combustion— the solu- 

1,1. : | ., » expelled, only th ngmne, or fibrou portion of the wood n 

I this is .,.,!■ imperishable, -xe.pt wlnn it is attacked by P »tl 
fun-i In tins e , the ctV bcr„mes visible in the dry rot, which gradual] 



desti 'ft the 01 mic Htnirhin' :u. I the cohesion ot lamest* 

W , other conditions of eo*ain oanstitu< -..t s of w ood, In which tl are 
Indestructibl by the ordinary action of e m and moiel , Th. ' 

,;„„ ,. ; „i in th- mtferons format* d bituminous depos ■ m rl, 

e th which arc doubtbss the ,,n,diMts of extinct vegetation, formed by un- 

i men ,,, ,1 the » n of vol - lir- -result ? ... vast. I.-. 

tion; and, in res? o the coal bed ft, tl sipation h : . tart, ami cxpul 
bvi . orothor ofthatnidsanl oaf. tha *er. *» ">' «■ 

B inona anbstanaaa presa w I and other organic 1 M 

pitch pins knot will last for a oentary— buri, I in the groond-pn I - 

the common ream it contain* Tha fossil rosins may als< . b I p 
both , ible a I animal am The anciem were as fam.liar *ith 

theaefa the mo! na It i .i.l .1 the U i) Dm- l.pb-us 

1 was built on piles, which were found— within the hid century— 1 D in 

of , presen ion, tha snrfccee of the a I i - "-ban and 

wise treated to render ihem imperial, la. The ir ly Greek hfcl «.a ap k 

Of the Bl I which asphalt um was .plied; and *S learn SB Hmy and 

othari that the E ans omplo] I thi inbetance and the prroHgneoee and 

of 1 in the pi s of embalming their dead. 

Th.- scientific philosophy of tl Bobbins pro M for press 1 may 

be briefly n. 1 in this connection Album ii the < ai in wood 

which tirat d ..poses; and herein th pr I of d y or put. 

menoea, and proc Is until the woody . 1 m 

in the . M > is co: t ,ulat,d by the application and by- 

power of 0* osote which the ol inous vapor- 
Coagulated albumen ll soluble in water, and 

eb, edl mi to a hmnid atmosphere. T nt.a oil, 

and ^aporued by distillation, ,,re,erveft.h.. el 

tbew I, and pre unst injury t m th I f™ 






p< I moi ire. Wh 

^Uasm ^;ia It iui<lt»rcroes u certain 






66 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



" $ 






the air. The essential oil loses a portion of its hydrogen, at the same time it 
takes up an extra portion of oxygen from the atmosphere, and hence becomes 



resinous. 



That the antiseptic principle derived from coal tar— in the Robbius process 
— is readily introduced into and through both animal and vegetable substances, 
must be obvious. The process of curing meat furnishes a familiar illustration. 
One has only to taste of a smoked ham to find that the creosote has found its 
way to the center. The metallic salts likewise have the effect to separate the 
albumen from its aqueous solution, thus preserving it from putrefaction. The 
albumen and gelatine of animals when combined with tannin also form insol- 
uble compounds, and thus the skins of animals are made to resist the agents 
which would otherwise produce a putrescent state. Morever, by the intimate 
combinations thus formed we account for the antiseptic properties and effects 
of corrosive sublimate and chloride of zinc as applied to the preservation of 
wood, in the processes employed by Kyan and Sir William Burnett. 

In the Robbins process the surface moisture is soon dissipated by heat, and 
the wood is thus partially seasoned. The more volatile oil first passes off, en- 
tering the open pores — not less than two or three thousand in number to each 
and every inch of surface. It is well known that the capillary action is great- 
ly increased by heat ; and the oleaginous compound — in a state of the greatest 
possible attenuation — is rapidly diffused through all the substance of the wood. 
By increasing the heat, the heavier products arising from the distillation ar- 
made to thoroughly permeate the woody tissue, and at last to close up the 
capillary tubes, leaving the entire surface of the wood impervious to moisture. 

The great importance of this treatment is so fairly established by the results 
of Bethell's experiments, and the experience of more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury, that Dr. Andrew Ure affirms that, "the commonest Scotch fir sleeper, 
when thus prepared, will last for centuries." 



A GREAT EVIL AND THE REMEDY. 



We extract the following from a leading editorial that appeared in the Hartford (Conn.) Daily 
Time*, of the date of September 20th, 1866: 

The increasing frequency of railroad disasters, accompanied by a frightful 
destruction of human life, is exciting general apprehension, and calling atten- 
tion to the best means of guaranteeing the traveling public against the recur- 
rence of such accidents. We are persuaded that a thorough investigation into 
the causes of railroad disasters would clearly demonstrate the fact that a large 
number result from the decay of railroad ties and the destruction of the piles 
of bridges by marine worms. Experience has proved that the ties or sleepers 
of railroads only last about five years. The precise time, of course, varh-s 
according to the varying degrees of inherent durability and the vicissitudes 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



67 




1 



resulting from unequal exposure to the elements. The decayed timbers are 
only removed when, by a superficial inspection, they are discovered. The 
surface may, however, present a fair appearance when the sub* telly 

wasted! the process of decay. At length the rotten sleeper yields to the 
heavy pressure; a rail breaks, and away go- the train, freighted with living 
beings, to sudden and almost certain destruction. It is certain that a Ion 
chapt( r of terrible accidents may be justly ascribed to this cai and that the 
breaking of a rail is far more likely fc *rar in ooneeqnence of the giving v\ ay 

of the pi r that support, d it than from anyflaw or otln t in the iron. 

It may bfl said that the proper functions of the public press, in it relation 
to a subject of this nature, ar but halt - torn I when th Attention of tl 
community is arrested by the fear! B expotnre of a great il. 1 I duty 

istud over the means and I rtrameotalii s of i o, md bj for p 

I in thr < nlightened judgment and moral i of the oolnmnnity, to r- 
pilthriradop . And here we may render a publi en • hy callin ttt.-n- 

tion to the new prooesi for | erring wood fi u decay, for which Mr. LlM II 

B. Robbdcs, of NewYork^has < it I v obtained a patent Thai th I 
may I pn nrred for an indel period, either by tie lilt lilute 

preparation of eon Hre sublimate, a concenti ed olution of 1 hloride of 
zinc, or by i Bering its surl e and m ? its sabeta s with an oleagi- 

nous OOmpouad, was long sinee d< onstrated in Engla I. H th Ml 

pi. «a adopted in Kurop nut saeeptibl 'verygeii al applioai n, 

ov\ r to the bnperl t machinery and i d, and tie :i\ 

expense necessarily incurred in p- kring the requ materials. Allot' th 

difficulties are, how« ear, obviat I by Mr. Robbing wl rtuallj 

! s«T\rs the condition of the ii, roc Lb ivory c heap and pid pr 

cess. Railroads: that would otherwij y in fl »»d« 

to last a <pi • of a ntury; an d the whole pffW pr< ndin 

the \« rv center and heart of the wood, is I ly more *ii 

coat of | lint on the surface. 

As the Robbim process prevents wc itber shrinking, warping < 

(•racking, and, at the cine time, rend- • it in I hj marine WOr it 

follows thai his method is equally applicable to all the uses (its use for ft I 
alone excepted) to which wood is applied. The 1 ami ial SOBS* 

of such a discoi ery can scarcely be < igsj< 






ian a sinu' 



En additi-n to the immense saving of timb -air. a.! a matter* 

i fll r inti st [vital importance to tl» mutij -ti d\ I I pre- 

>ss would inevitably gave i I rjr large proportio li la' 

, m ,l |>rM ,i.e indue* of the i Id, hj the qnalitj d bili 

thus given to all the artificial st s made wholl n pai tod. I' ie 

savin o\' railroad timber, in this mtr aid al int 

0,0 ,000 of dollars annually ; and to tl 11 mint mak. rfurtl al 

~# -~* c - .i fw~*T* fi^.uwm.i .loll.-irs for averv hundred miles of 



riil way that may be consti I -after. 






68 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 






The preparation of ship timber by the new process can scarcely be less im- 
portant than the application of the discovery to railroads. Previous to the 
late rebellion some of our ships of war were rotting on the stocks before they 
were finished, involving a loss of both materials and labor. Moreover, not 
only the tropical seas, but th^ waters of the temperate zones swarm with 
marine worms that sometimes destroy the hulls of vessels in a few weeks or 
months. These worms are liable to attack and riddle the piles of bridges, 
boring silently beneath the surface of the water, and thus invisibly but 
surely destroying the integrity of the whole structure. It is a fact that 
extensive and seemingly durable works are frequently weakened and some- 
times wholly destroyed in this way. New Holland was once inundated by 
these apparently insignificant creatures. Whole villages were made desolate, 
and 40,000 acres of cultivated lands left a barren waste, the Teredo Nuwlis 
(Linnajus) having destroyed the piles of the dyke Leeuwarden. As the Rob- 
bins process for preserving wood is said to be a complete protection against 
the ravages of these omniverous worms, it merits the early attention of ship- 
wrights, the builders of bridges and wharves, and especially of the Navy De 

partnient. 

At least we may hope that a careful examination of our railroads will soon 
be instituted, and that the public will imperatively demand the immediate 
adoption of every new improvement that may afford greater security to the 
traveling public. If there are railroad and transportation companies that 
will not promptly employ every means that may tend to the preservation of 
life, let the selfish and soulless policy of such corporations be freely and fear- 
lessly exposed. Let the peopl > understand that such roads are traps and $$$arm 
that lead to death; and that the manifest crime of their managers is at best con- 
structive homicide. As far as possible let all such lines of travel be abandoned, 
let the interests of their owners perish, to the end that even licensed criminals 
may be punished, and human life be r?spected and preserved. 



FROM THE AMERICAN ARTISAN. 

PRESERVATION OF RAILWAY TIMBER. 

A due regard for the safety of the traveling public requires a careful investi- 
gation into the condition of all the railways and railway-bridges in the country. 
Since the commencement of the late rebellion many of them have not been 
properly repaired. It requires 125,000,000 of ties for the 50,000 miles of rail- 
tracks in the United States. Owing to their constant exposure to the element 
the rapid process of decay renders it necessary to lay down new ones as often 
once in five years, at an expense of more than 60,000,000 of dollars. But cir- 
cumstances .rowing out of the late war, and the diminished supply and increas- 

1 cost of the timber, have o< sioned a general neglect, the consequents of 
which are daily more apparent. The directors and stockholders of railways 

jeopardize human limbs and heads to save the small cost of chestnut logs. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



<;9 



The old sleepers are permitted to remain, to save expense, until one by one 
they yield to the weight of trains, when a rail breaks, and another chapter is 
added to the record of human sacrifices. 

There is reason to apprehend that the piles of some railway-bridges are per- 
forated in all directions, beneath the surface of the water, by mariue worms ; 
and yet no proper investigation is either instituted or demanded. Owing to 
this neglect, and the decay of railway timber, we may expect that the number 
of accidents of this class will increase, until the evil finds a violent remedy in 

exasperated public sentiment. • ■ ,- 

In the Northern and Middle States the supply of timber is diminishing. 
Railway ties that once cost thirty cents are now worth double that price, in 
the same localities ; and the facts are such as to occasion apprehension among 
those who are most concerned in railway enterprises. For obvious reasons, it 
should be a matter of deeper interest to the pubUc. It is difficult to substitute 
an v other material for many of the uses to which wood is applied. If this can- 
not be done, and the quantity is likely to be insufficient in the future, then 
some means should be adopted to prevent the present waste of an article so 
necessary to the progress of the useful arts. If we cannot accelerate the 
• ■ , owth of timber, it is well to consider what may be done to arrest its decay. 
As early as 1833 Bethell's process for preserving wood was patented in Eng- 
land. Ryan's method, and the process discovered by Sir William Burnett, 
al i racted attention about the same time. They employed corrosive **blimate 
and chloride of zinc, respectively, while Bethell covered the surface and failed 
the pores with an oleaginous compound. The results of these experiments 
demonstrated the feasibility of preserving wood for an indefinite tune ; but 
the methods employed were imperfect ; and, if we except Bethell's process, 
the materials were too expensive for general application. It remained Jor an 
American to perfect this important discovery. 

Mr Louis S. Robbins, of this city, has recently patented a new process, in 
Which he employs the antiseptic principle derived from a distillation ot coal 
tar. 1 i machinery is simple, the material-employed is cheap, and the pro* s 
rapid and effectual. As the preservative principle in Robbins' process is the 
same as that of Bethell, the durability of wood so prepared is demonstrated 
by Bethell's experiments, and confirmed, by the experience of a quarter ot a 
century- 

Since it is assumed that wood treated by Bobbins' process will 1 t tor 
twenty-five years, in the most exposed situations, and that this tact is estab- 
lished beyond reasonable doubt by the application of the same antiseptic prin- 
ciple in Bethell's imperfect method, the public should insist on an examination 
Of the claim. Kit be well founded, let the rotten timber be replaced by im- 
perishable timber. If durability can be easily obtained, we should insist on 
having it in the materials of railways. It is also a measure oi oonomy, a 
well as one that involves the public safety. 

10 



a 



m 






70 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD 



THE WOOD-PRESERVING QUESTION. 

The following decisive answer to a correspondent is copied from the American Artizan, 
in which it originally appeared, with the indorsement of the Editor of that excellent journal. 

Messes. Editors : — It cannot have escaped your observation that wood, 
in its most useful applications, is rapidly destroyed by the natural process of 
decay, and by the ravages of several species of worms and insects. This is 
rendered inevitable by the ordinary atmospheric conditions to which it is 
necessarily exposed, and from which it is impossible to protect it, except by 
some artificial treatment that will make it less perishable. In my travels 
through the United States I have noticed that the chief and more accessible 
sources of the supply of timber — even in the great West— are being rapidly 
diminished, and of necessity they must be finally exhausted, unless by some 
means this rapid waste of wood can be arrested. If any such means have 
been discovered, will you give me such reliable information as you possess, 
whether derived from your own scientific investigations, or from the experi- 
mental observations of others? Your compliance with this request may be 
of service to the public, and will greatly oblige your obedient servant, 

George P. Idkie. 

Denver, Colorado, September 19, 1866. 

Answer. 

We cheerfully furnish our correspondent such information as we have on 
the general subject embraced in his letter. In Europe at least six patents 
have been granted, and one or more in this country, for various processes for 
preserving wood from decay. Five of the six patents obtained in Europe 
have covered the use of certain metallic solutions and the several modes of 
their application. The substances employed in this general method of 
treating wood are, corrosive sublimate, chloride of zinc, sulphate of copper, 
and sulphate of iron, in connection with carbonate of soda. 

The mode of applying the metallic compounds, which is both difficult and 
expensive, may be briefly described. The metallic substances are first dis- 
solved in water, the air is then partially removed from the iron receptacl 
containing the wood to be treated, by the use of pumps attached to the ap- 
paratus for that purpose. The solution is then forced into the wood by a 
pressure of some one hundred and fifty pounds to the square inch, the pressure 
being continued until the operation is completed. 

As it is conceded by the best authorities that the decay of wood is caused 
by the combined action of oxygen and moisture, it is scarcely possible that 
this treatment should preserve it from decay for any great length of tbifei 
To be sure, corrosive sublimate coagulates the albumen of the sap; other 
metallic compounds may produce a similar effect, and so far the treatment 
is beneficial ; but as the pores of the wood are still open and tie fibrous por- 
tions left exposed to all the changes of temperature and moisture, it y- lacks 









ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



71 






the most essential conditions to its preservation. Moreover, there appear to 
be grave objections to the use of the metallic solutions. The principal of 
these may be briefly stated. The effect of such a treatment is to diminish the 
elasticity of the ligneous fibre. This is inevitable from the very nature of 
the materials employed ; and it constitutes a serious objection, for the reason 
that the elastic quality of wood is of the first importance in its chief relations 
to the mechanic arts. The metallic compounds, however applied, are further 
objectionable because they are powerful oxydizing agents. The metals, espe" 
dally iron and copper — in connecting-rods and bars, in bolts, rivets and nails 
— are extensively used in such of the more important works as are chiefly 
constructed of wood. The integrity of these as much depends on the pre- 
servation of the metals from corrosion as on the soundness of the timber, and 
hence the inutility of snch a treatment of tho latter as inevitably increases 
that corrosion must be self-evident. 

Among the European inventors — having for their object the preservation 
of wood from decay — one only rejeqted the metallic solutions, and substituted, 
m a crude form, the products of tar. In England this treatment had well- 
nigh taken the place of all other substances and methods, until the recent 
introduction of the American invention by Mr. Louis S. Ilobbins, of this 
city. The Robbing process properly contemplates the use of either coal or 
wood tar, .rosin or asphalt urn; the selection of the particular material being 
determined by considerations of convenience and economy — the antiseptic 
elements necessary to the preservation of wood existing in all the above 
named substances. 

In the peculiar mode of applying his materials Mr. Bobbins appears to h o 
achieved a ffrcat success. Instead of using the substances named in a crude 
form, he converts them into vapor by the application of t lie requisite degree 
of heat, in which state they readily enter into and pervade the entire sub- 
stance of the wood. In the English process of using tar the oil deri\ 1 from 
the distillation was attempted to be forced into and through the pores by 
purely artificial means. This, of necessity, could only r rait in a very 
superficial impregnation of the wood, while the same or a similar material, 

made more than one thousand times finer and more penetrating by being 

vaporized, readily finds its way into the smallest spaces of the cellular stnu 
ture, and thus the wood is impregnated in the most rapid and effectual 
manner. The specific effects of the treatment may thus briefly enumerated: 

1. The applii don of heat and the creosote that, by a subtle process of 
infill ration, is made to permeate the wood, has the effect to thoroughly coa- 

Late the albumen of the sap, thus rendering it insoluble in water and 



•ii 



incapable of putrefaction. 

2. The antiseptic elements arising from the distillation fill the pores of the 
wood far more effectually than they can be otherwise closed by the adoption 
of such methods as usually accompany the use of the metallic compounds. 

3. The heavy oleaginous product deri\ I from tar, rosin, and other simi- 



- 1 ■ i 



& 



■ 



72 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 






lar substances not only protects the fibre from moisture, but it also pre- 
serves its elastic quality. 

4. This treatment prevents the generation of infusoria within the pores 
of the wood ; parasites will not attach themselves to its surface ; at the 
same time it affords a complete protection against marine worms and all the 
insects that bore wood in a dry atmosphere. It is also to be observed that 
this treatment seasons green wood immediately and perfectly. 

5. The necessary apparatus for treating wood by the Bobbins process 
involves but a small expense compared with the cost of the necessary ma- 
chinery employed in connection with the various metallic solutions. 

The query that relates to the comparative cost of the two general methods 
of treating wood— already described— will naturally arise in the mind of the 
inquirer, especially if he be disposed to take a business view of the subject. 
This important question maybe satisfactorily disposed of, perhaps, by simply 
quoting the present New York market value (Oct. 1st) of the several sub- 
stances employed, respectively, in the treatment of wood : 

Peices of tiie Metallic Compounds, used ih solution : Chloride of 
Zinc (large quantities) per lb., $1 50; Corrosive Sublimate, $1 10; Sulphate 
of Copper, 12i cents; Carbonate of Soda, 10 cents. 

Prices of Bituminous Substances: Aspbaltura, per lb., 8 cents ; Rosin, 
li cents; Wood Tar, li cents; Coal Tar, 1 cent. 

The foregoing facts and considerations naturally lead us to the conclusion, 
that the materials and the process employed by Mr. Robbins are dwh Uy 
superior to any of the means and methods heretofore adopted, in the 
progress of modern art, for the preservation of wood, as well from the 
attacks of microscopic and other insects as from the natural process of 
decay. — Eds. 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



73 



LEGAL OPINION OF THE ROBBINS PATENT. 

Wiien about to purchase the invention known as the 
" Bobbins Process," the Philadelphia Company required this 
Company to furnish them with the written opinion of that 
eminent Patent Lawyer, Ciiarli.s M. Keller, Estj., of the 
city of New York, which is as follows: 

My opinion is requested as to the validity and legal .scope of Letters Pa- 
tent granted to Louis S. Bobbins for a Process for Preserving Wood from 
mold and decay, and assigned to the "National Patent Wood Preserving 
Company," and also whether the procc- atented is valuable. 

The invention described in this patent is a process for more effectually 
impregnating wood to be preserved, with oleaginous compounds, than by 
any other process before known ; and the process so descril oraists in 
applying heat to the wood to vaporize the moisture contained in its pon i 
for some distance from the surface inwards, and after the moisture has In -en 
expelled, and the pores are opened by the heat, applying the oleaginou- 
compounds in the condition of vapor, that they may more freely enter the 
pores, and become solidified therein by condensation, thus effectually -> din; 
up the pores of the wood. The apparatus described in the patent consisl i 
of a retort, in which the oleaginous substances are distilled. The retort is 
connected with a chamber suitably formed to receive the wood to be treated, 
and into which the oleaginous vapors from the retort are introduced. 

It has long since been established as a fact, that wood will not decay if 
it can be protected against the action of moisture. Moisture under the 
influences of changes of temperature is the destroyer of vegetable substances, 
and if a piece of wood were thoroughly dried and put in a glass tube, and, 
then sealed up, it is admitted that it would not decay. 

The process described in the patent in question is based ou thi- estab- 
lished fact, and the rationale is to first expel the moisture contained in the 
pores of the wood, and then fill up the pores with a m tance or tan© 
which will not be affected either by moisture or by any other chai 

atmospheric tempera tin - ''. 

Nearly ail the processes heretofore invented for the pre ration of wood 
have been based on this well-establi-hed fact. The difficulty b been to 



T 



74 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



find some means by which wood, which is a porous substance, could be ef- 
fectually sealed tfp, so as to exclude moisture, when exposed in use, as it 
must generally be, in the presence of moisture. Science has long since 
established the cause of decay, and what is required to prevent it, and lias 
presented to inventive genius the more difficult task of finding out the 
means by which it is to be effected. 

Prior to the invention of the process described in the patent in question, 
ingenious minds have been directed to the finding out of the kinds of sub- 
stances which, when introduced into the pores of the wood, would effectu- 
ally exclude moisture to prevent its destructive effects, and as the result of 
these efforts, a considerable catalogue of anti-septics has been produced, 
most of which will effectually preserve wood ; but the discovery of the effi- 
cacious properties of these various substances was not sufficient ; one branch 
of the important problem was yet undiscovered, and that was a means of 
effectually, practically and cheaply sealing up the pores of the wood with 

some suitable anti-septic. 

Most of the attempts have been to drive out the moisture contained in 
the wood by the anti-septic agent in the liquid or semi-liquid form. To 
drive out of the pores one liquid by another, and cause that other, when 
so substituted, to assume the permanent solid state was the difficulty. 
Many trials have been made in that direction, and with success, but the 
processes are too slow and expensive, and for that reason have not been 

extensively used. # 

In my opinion, the process described in the patent submitted to me, is 
effectual^ practical and cheap ^ and is based on 8 vnd principle*. lnst< ad of 
attempting to drive out one liquid by another, it consists in driving the 
moisture out of the pores of the wood by the application of heat, which per- 
forms the duty by vaporizing such liquid, and whilst the pores ol" the wood 
are still expanded by heat, introducing vapors obtained from the d&tilla- 
tion of oleaginous substances, which vaporize at a much higher temperature 
than the liquids previously contained in the pores of the wood. 

In the gaseous form, these substances readily enter the pores of tip' 
wood, and are there, by condensation, gradually reduced to the solid form, 
until the pores become thoroughly filled and sealed up, and as the oleaginous 
substances thus introduced are not affected by moisture, or by the changes 
of atmospheric temperature, and are thoroughly anti-septic it results that 
wood so treated will be effectually protected against decay, and for many 
purposes materially improved. 

It is stated in the specification of the patent, that the preferred mode of 
working the process is by the apparatus described, but, as will be obviou 
that the claim of invention is not limited to the use of such, or of auy other 
apparatus, as the said process can be worked by any apparatus in which 



ART OF PRESERVING WOOD. 



75 



the wood to be treated can be exposed to the required heat to vaporize the 
moisture contained in its pores, used in connection with any suitable retort 
or vessel in which the oleaginous substances can be distilled, and the va- 
pors discharged into the chamber in which wood has been heated to expel 
the moisture. 

And it is further stated that the preferred mode, because it is obviously 
the cheapest, is to expel the moisture from the wood by the oleaginous 
vapors with which the wood is to be charged, although the claim of the 
invention is not limited to such mode of working the process, but that it is 
best, must be obvious, for the reason that the oleaginous substances vaporize 
at a much higher temperature than the liquids to be driven out, so that 
these vapors after vaporizing and expelling the moisture, and entering the 
pores of the wood, will be then condensed by being cooled down to a tem- 
perature below that at which they were vaporized. 

The process in my opinion is not only new and patentable, but highly 
useful. The patent is valid, and the legal scope of the claim is such, that 
it will cover every possible means of expelling the moisture by the appli- 
cation of a sufficient heat to vaporize it, and then applying the vapor ob- 
tained from the distillation of oleaginous substances, whether the heat for 
expelling the moisture be applied by the vapors which are to impregnate 
the wood, or by other means. 



Signed, 



CHARLES M. KELLER. 



July U, 1867. 



r 








i